I am one of those people, who are pretty much always thinking about their privacy in the digital world, call me paranoid …
The greatest thing for me about Creators Update (officially: Feature Update to Windows 10, version 1703) is that now Microsoft reveals what data they are gathering from our computer use. Previously the information about the data being collected has been difficult to get.
Is all that data collected relevant for operating system and other software development? No, not in my opinion.
Microsoft has released this information on their Technet site (Windows 10 configuration index page):
There are two listings in the index (left side of the webpage)
Basic level Windows diagnostic events and fields
Windows 10, version 1703 diagnostic data
The listings are meant for IT professionals and a normal PC user can only comprehend a little portion what data is actually collected. I for sure didn’t and the list is loooong!
There are several apps for protecting your privacy, but the simplest way for at least for some privacy is to use bogus information for Windows 10 Live Account setup. Or use local account if you don’t need the connectivity between devices and/or cloud.
I am sure there are a lot of rants/opinions/facts about the Windows 10 Creators Update privacy settings in the internet, but here is one for you to enjoy/hate:
Barnacules mentions that the Creators Update resets for example the default web browser to Edge, but this didn’t happen with me when I upgraded to Creators Update (I live in the EU, maybe a US problem).
Have you had any problems with the Creators update? I haven’t noticed anything so far…
Are you concerned about your privacy with Windows 10 Creators Update and what have you done about it?
This is something that people have been shouting left and right since Windows 10 was first introduced. When upgrading to Windows 10, or with large updates like these, Microsoft will offer a set of default options. If you choose this ‘express setup’, the recommended settings from Microsoft will be used. Obviously, they’ll recommend Edge as the browser, and that is not a problem at all. If you choose not to use the express settings, you’ll be able to pick your default apps and such as you please, with the current settings being maintained if you don’t change anything.
So for all the ‘next! next! next!’ clickers who don’t read and try to install as quickly as possible, yes, it will set your default browser to Edge.
The most wanted info about w10 data collection is, off course, “what do they collect”.
They explained by the difficult-to-understand-listings you mentioned.
So at one side nobody understands from such a long list well enough what is collected and on the other side nobody can say that the info is not available.
Clever lawyer inspired big company move .
The question on how to keep privacy reasonable well preserved stay open.
For the paranoid folk who have believed all along that Microsoft is spying on them, the Creators Update doesn’t change things one bit. The only solution is for Windows to be open sourced, and for them to magically acquire the time, ability and motivation to review the entirety of its code base for back doors, then build from source. The same bar then needs to be cleared for any software installed and every prospective update. For the bandwagoners who follow said paranoid folk, understand that the same goes for you. You are not sticking it to the man by simply downloading proprietary, closed-source software from some dodgy website that claims to “disable M$ keylogging”.
Reasonable dialogue can be had with those that hold more moderate opinions. Microsoft is not literally Jesus, and healthy scepticism never hurt anybody. It is also not Hitler. The improvements to the OOBE and disclosure of collected data are good steps forwards. They can still go further without significantly compromising telemetry data — unless there truly is nefarious intent behind it all. What I want to know is why they have kept quiet for so long. This extends beyond the topic at hand; we’ve been seeing weird behaviour surrounding Windows exploits and patches recently.
What bothers me is that this movement to paint a single vendor in a negative light does nothing to advance privacy awareness. I mean, sure, maybe one day you’ll finally win that ideological war that Microsoft waged with you in the 90s. But are they the only threat, when we have companies popping up left and right that plainly profile their users because it is their entire business model? When we see rampant data mining among mobile apps on both iOS and Android? When legislature is passed to enforce data collection at the ISP level or to allow disclosure without consent?
It’s sad how many times I’ve seen an uproar supposedly about privacy and Windows 10, and jumping into the comments, there is the following exchange:
Question: What about Google?
Highly-upvoted response: They already know everything about me.
There are multiple ways to justify for yourself that all that rant about privacy is bs and that google has all the data already anyway blablabla etc. → but that doesn’t mean that i have to give a buck about it and have to accept it just because you want to justify it for yourself so your world is still okay and unicorns and leprechauns can continue to live in peace.
Free advice for privacy ppl. : get a librem laptop, thats the best you can get.
This is the first time Godwin’s law came true on this forum, right? At least, the first I’ve seen in my short time @TheDestiny IMO, he actually didn’t say that the rant about privacy is BS. He just pointed out that it’s useless to depict certain guys as bad and don’t care about others “since they know everything already”, but to rather have a discussion involving all colours of the spectrum to find a solution instead of just ranting.
Oh dear! Does it still count, considering I said that they weren’t comparable?
You correctly read my intent, thanks for putting it so succinctly . IMO, rallying against a certain vendor is something borne out of agendas (personal opinions, defaming a competitor, etc.) and the news cycle (breaking stories garner more attention than in-depth analyses). It is especially dangerous when it reaches a fever pitch and devolves into circlejerking, clickbait and disinformation.
That’s not to say that we shouldn’t speak out against individual infringements, but we must be careful to avoid overshadowing the bigger picture. Consider two situations that may arise after the significant amount of bad press that Windows 10 has garnered from a privacy angle:
We uncover the smoking gun that incriminates (?) Microsoft of stockpiling and blatantly misusing PII. The company is doomed, its critics get closure (“we told you so!”), and the general public drops Microsoft technologies and marks the issue as resolved. IMO, this situation sets up Microsoft as the fall guy, and once past the fallout, other bad actors that have not received comparable attention can safely continue as they were.
Years go by and we don’t get any closer to proof. Public interest wanes, and the story starts to be perceived as an oddity of the past: “remember when microwaves made food radioactive?”
If my hypotheticals make any ounce of sense, then hopefully they illustrate the importance of keeping our focus broad and on the root problems at hand. If we can establish a base level of literacy among the general public rather than relying on a name-and-shame model, the subject will be less susceptible to the ebb and flow of “outrage culture”.
@TheDestiny Apologies for the pointed response earlier, as I too thought it was a reply. I fear you’re right but hope you’re wrong.
“We uncover the smoking gun that incriminates (?) Microsoft of stockpiling and blatantly misusing PII. The company is doomed, its critics get closure (“we told you so!”), and the general public drops Microsoft technologies and marks the issue as resolved. IMO, this situation sets up Microsoft as the fall guy, and once past the fallout, other bad actors that have not received comparable attention can safely continue as they were.”
Thats how the intelligence agencys act. They point at Facebook and scream that they abuse your Data and a week later they want a Bill that gives them more rights to be passed down by the ppl. Ofc we won’t abuse your Data its all to protect you from terrorism. Kappa
Guys and gals, the only reason that Creators update was the topic is that it is topical.
I doubt that there is an evil mastermind collecting all this data, be it Microsoft, Google, Facebook or any other web browser and social media companies.
The main reason (besides the obvious software development angle) for them is to collect data so that they can gain bigger profits by either selling that data to others or using it to get competitive edge on the advertisement market or variations/combinations of the previously mentioned.
But the point is that they are at least partially collecting data that is personal and identifiable.
Personally I think that my use information is predominantly mine, and not theirs to exploit.
Changing this situation is difficult and it will take a lot of time if it even ever succeeds.
I’m skeptical and I try to limit the amount of my usage data in the digital world whatever means are at my disposal without emigrating into the tinfoilhat category .
The problem isn’t that there is no evil mastermind right now, but once the data is collected in a few years there maybe is one and you won’t get your data back.
practical: use telegram instead of whats app, its the best compromise i think. There are less used alternatives like signal or threema that are better.
Say goodbye to Facebook and enjoy a richer real life experience with more time for analogue things ( duh i sound like one of these guides for parents about internet for children)
I think these are quite obvious, I don’t use facebook or other social networks because I think it’s dumb to share something with the whole world even if they’re not interested in it. Social networks are 100% useless for me.
I don’t use whatsapp because it’s a y app to begin with. It requires my phone to be connected all the time, I can’t log in from two computers simultaneously, it displays my phone number which I don’t want to share with everyone, and so on… It’s just bad. There are much better alternatives like Skype or Discord.
Of course, privacy concerns are not any less important than those I named above.
Anyway, back on topic - there are things that are just out of our control. Like Windows. Yeah we can all switch to Linux but it’s so difficult to use that we’ll all be terribly inefficient and it will actually do only bad to the Linux community when so many “noobs” join. There’s also a wide “app gap” there, just like with Windows Phone. Linux has good developer tools, but if you’re not a developer there’s nothing to see there. But I digress. My point is that there are issues that can’t be solved just by not using something. Sometimes you’re forced to use some software. Even whatsapp and facebook - if all your friends use it, how can you not use it? You can’t force all your friends to install an alternative app just because you alone don’t like what they use.
Is this sarcasm? I’m not talking about “BFF” type of friends, lol… There also are colleagues, groupmates and so on. Basically people whom you need to communicate with but not your best friends by any means. For example, I have to use facebook because there is a group where important announcements from my university group are posted. And those people are not super close friends so I’m not arrogant enough to demand them to forward everything to me personally.
Another example is whatsapp - I need to use that too because the admins of this forum decided to host a prototype testing group there. Should they change it just because I don’t like it? No, they’re the bosses here and I respect their decision.
Oh, and nowadays people rarely take unlimited SMS plans, because they just don’t use that thing. So each and every SMS message they send costs some money.