Microsoft has been listening to the constant stream of complaint surrounding the company’s decision to gather and use telemetry data to improve the Windows 10 experience. The complaints haven’t hit a brick wall, or got stuck in a Cloud somewhere, and Microsoft is very aware of the need for some organizations to disable telemetry – even though the company announced the existence and use of telemetry data in Windows 10 during Microsoft Ignite this past May.
Today, Microsoft has taken the wraps off a new blog post to explain its position and thoughts on Windows 10 data collection and privacy. The effort is admirable, considering the heated discussions have been pinging around the Cloud-o-sphere for months.
Microsoft’s, Terry Myerson, delivers the message in three main components:
Safety and reliability data – “This includes data like an anonymous device ID, device type, and application crash data which Microsoft and our developer partners use to continuously improve application reliability. This doesn’t include any of your content or files, and we take several steps to avoid collecting any information that directly identifies you, such as your name, email address or account ID.”
Personalization data – “You are in control of the information we collect for these purposes and can update your settings at any time.”
Advertising Data we don’t collect – “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.”
The full blog post is here: Privacy and Windows 10
But, equally important to the clarifications provided in the blog post, is one piece of evidence that Microsoft is continuing to listen to customers. Within the Safety and Reliability area, Terry says offers this olive branch…
Our enterprise feature updates later this year will enable enterprise customers the option to disable this telemetry, but we strongly recommend against this.
So, there is movement by the software and OS maker to accommodate privacy concerns. How this eventually shakes-out for consumer versions of Windows 10 remains to be seen, but if the company is making this choice available to businesses, options could be eventually become available to consumers. It is one Windows, after all.
Today’s post is really just a clarification of what the company has been saying all along, but in an effort to minimize the unnecessary content clutter and conspiracy theorists. Microsoft is not in the business to turn customers into products, but only to use the collected data to improve, enhance, and secure the operating environment.
As quickly moving as Windows 10 updates tend to be, it would be nice to see Microsoft’s communications be just as agile and follow the same servicing regimen. These types of clarifications should deliver more quickly to head-off problems instead of seeking to make amends – which is what this post seems. Microsoft has spent additional communication cycles as of late in an apparent effort to deliver explanations that probably should have existed already. In just the last few days the company has clarified Windows 10 Servicing and Windows 10 Activation, which epitomizes some of the top break-downs in communication and painful sources for customer confusion.
Along with today’s communication, Microsoft has updated its guidance on configuring Windows 10 privacy settings during installation and post-installation. That updated doc is here: Setting your preferences for Windows 10 services.