Microsoft has come under fire from privacy advocates because many end-users feel that Window 10 is way too intrusive. While it is true that much of this data is used to enhance user experience, Microsoft’s lack of transparency isn’t doing much to dispel the notion that they are spying on end users, gathering much more personal information than needed, and making it way too difficult to opt out. If you’re wondering what kind of data Microsoft collects from Windows 10 users, it includes:
- Personal information about your browsing habits and what you’re doing on your computer
- It borrows bandwidth from your computer without asking for shared downloads, much like a peer to peer network
- Per the end user license agreement (EULA), it can scans for illegal games (xbox)
- Forced updates
To get a better idea of what Microsoft is doing with Windows 10, you’ll need to read the end user agreement. It’s about 12,000 words, so you may want to have your lawyer handy as you are going through it!
If you want to reduce the amount of spying that Windows does, you will need to open Settings and click on Privacy. There, you’ll need to navigate through 13 different screens to disable the first layer of data collection. You will also need to visit https://choice.microsoft.com to opt out of personalized ads. This won’t keep you from seeing ads; it’ll simply block ads targeting you based on your browsing history.
Even after all of these changes, Windows 10 will continue to send information to Microsoft. To further block its ability to spy on you, consider downloading Windows 10 Tracking Disable Tool from Majorgeeks.com. This tool blacklists many of the IP’s that Windows 10 sends the tracking data to. To further reduce data aggregation Windows 10 users should also consider installing ghostery from www.ghostery.com.
So, while you can reduce the amount of spying that Windows 10 does by default, the OS is designed in such a way to make the process very difficult for the average user which is unnecessary.