Microsoft will access, disclose, preserve personal data

Microsoft’s new Windows 10 operating system might be popular, but the price of the free upgrade may just be your privacy, though, as changing Windows 10’s intrusive default settings is difficult.

While the upgrade is currently free of charge to owners of licensed copies of Windows 8 and Windows 7, it does come at a price. Several tech bloggers have warned that the privacy settings in the operating system are invasive by default, and that changing them involves over a dozen different screens and an external website.

According to Zach Epstein of BGR News, all of Windows 10’s features that could be considered invasions of privacy are enabled by default. Signing in with your Microsoft email account means Windows is reading your emails, contacts and calendar data. The new Edge browser serves you personalized ads. Solitaire now comes with ads. Using Cortana – the voice-driven assistant that represents Redmond’s answer to Apple’s Siri – reportedly “plays fast and loose with your data.”

In theory it is possible to block access to your data, but you really have to put an effort in it. Microsoft is correctly gambling that the vast majority of users won’t bother. After all, ‘they have nothing to hide’.

From the 45-page terms of use:

“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 to.”

Linux-based software is available though.