SO YOU FINALLY installed Windows 10 and joined the ranks of the other 67 million users. You open your browser to search for a place to grab lunch, and Bing already knows your location. You notice that all the banner ads are geared toward your secret knitting hobby. And when you open Cortana to ask what?s going on, she knows your name and the embarrassing nickname your mother calls you.
This may seems like a stretch, but you?d be surprised by the amount of personal information Windows 10 collects from its users?information including phone numbers, GPS location, credit card numbers, and even video and audio messages. Of course, Microsoft?s privacy statement outlines all the data that is collected, and you agreed to this when you downloaded Windows 10 and checked the terms of service.
In this Age of the Unread Terms of Service Agreement, it?s important to, well, read the ToS. It?s too easy for our technologies to gather personal information without our realizing it. Microsoft is far from the only perpetrator, but since it just delivered us an exciting new operating system, it?s time to dig into those settings.
The Fine Print
In the privacy statement mentioned before, Microsoft goes through three ways it uses personal data: ?(1) to operate our business and provide (including improving and personalizing) the services we offer, (2) to send communications, including promotional communications, and (3) to display advertising.? If you want to know more about what Microsoft is talking about, I highly encourage you to browse the privacy statement (seriously), but here?s the gist of it:
1. ?To operate our business??: Many of Microsoft?s applications require personal information in order to operate. For example, if you are using the Maps application, it will need your location to function properly. This instance makes sense, but not all applications are quite as direct with their usage of your information. Cortana also uses your location, and the only way to prevent this is to not use Cortana. Microsoft also collects data to understand why certain applications crash in order to improve them, but this also means tracking your usage of these applications. This means that if Microsoft Office crashes while you are using it, Microsoft will be able to see the Excel or Word documents that were open during the crash.
Read more at?WIRED