Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Slate: Windows 10 express install is a privacy nightmare; how to protect yourself

David Auerbach has written a terrific step-by-step guide to turning off the default settings Windows 10 chooses during an express install and where to find the other "secret" settings that the company has made VERY obscure. You should read and follow his guide, which is here.
     The problems start with Microsoft’s ominous privacy policy, which is now included in the Windows 10 end-user license agreement so that it applies to everything you do on a Windows PC, not just online. (Disclosure: I worked for Microsoft in the days of Windows XP.) It uses some scary broad strokes:
Finally, we will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary.
     Some have spun conspiracy theories out of that language. I’m more inclined to blame vagueness and sloppiness, not ill intent. With some public pressure, Microsoft is likely to specify how and why it will share your data. But even that won’t excuse Microsoft’s ham-fisted incursion into users’ data, nor how difficult it is restore the level of privacy back to what it was in Windows 7 and 8. Apple’s and Google’s privacy policies both have their own issues of collection and sharing, but Microsoft’s is far vaguer when it comes to what the company collects, how it will use it, and who it will share it...
     The install settings are only a subset of Windows 10’s privacy settings, which occupy more than a dozen different pages and dialogue boxes across the user interface, none of them in plain sight

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