Microsoft reinforces Windows 10 privacy practices

Microsoft reinforces Windows 10 privacy practices

In a blog post over at Blogging Windows, Microsoft's Executive Vice President of the Windows and Devices Group Terry Myerson attempts to alleviate the onslaught of concern that has been expressed in the last few weeks over the information Microsoft collects from Windows 10 systems and how it is handled.

In the blog post Myerson explains the company observes two specific principles when it comes to Windows 10, your privacy and the data collected:

  1. Windows 10 collects information so the product will work better for you.
  2. You are in control with the ability to determine what information is collected.

Myerson states that all of the data sent between your device and Microsoft are encrypted and subsequently stored in secure facilities.

The data which is collected under this premise is used in two broader categories:

Safety and Reliability Data

This is information that is used to insure you have a secure and reliable experience on Windows 10. Data such as anonymous device ID, device type and application crash data is used by Microsoft and its partners to improve system and application reliability.

Personalization Data

In order to give each user a unique and personalized experience on Windows 10 Microsoft needs to know your likes, dislikes and preferences to present the information that is applicable to your experience. Think of Cortana - she needs to know things about you to be useful but ultimately you are in control of that and can grant or deny her certain levels of access. She can still bring you information based on what you let her have access to but it will impact the overall level of the personalized experience.

Microsoft also gives you full control over those preferences for the various Windows 10 services so you can change these settings at anytime.

Myerson also reiterated that there are some areas Microsoft will not look to collect advertising info on your system:

"Unlike some other platforms, no matter what privacy options you choose, neither Windows 10 nor any other Microsoft software scans the content of your email or other communications, or your files, in order to deliver targeted advertising to you."

As we have covered here before, Microsoft provides a granular level of control relating to privacy in Windows 10 that surpassed any previous version of the Windows operating system. You have full control over what parts of your system can be accessed by your apps, hardware and the ability to choose what specific preferences you have for Windows 10 services.

In conjunction with this blog post Microsoft has also published a new online resource to provide further information about Windows 10 and your online services

According to the article, this resource provides concrete examples about the info sent back and forth between you and Microsoft and what it provides you in return.

Ultimately, all of this information exchange is about improving our Windows experience:

"To help us decide which services are working well and which need improvement, we pay attention to how people use Windows. We can spot patterns in the problems our customers have, understand the cause, and fix the issues quickly. We can also focus our resources on upgrading the things people use the most, and to improve or even retire those that don’t get used. This data, collectively called 'telemetry', can also help us understand gaps in our services so we can help people use Windows more effectively."

Bottom line - there must be a trust relationship between you and the companies you choose to work with. There will be multiple reasons behind that trust, and just like in real life relationships, any breach of that trust is cause for concern as much as the continued effort to protect data and privacy will build that trust.

Personally, I have never had Microsoft do anything to violate that trust relationship and until they give me a reason not to trust them I am all in.

What about you?

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