Privacy Concerns Over Windows 10 Data Collection Sparks Change

Windows 10 Data Collection

When you think about privacy issues, your first thoughts might turn to Google or Facebook. However, Microsoft sparked outrage when users found out how much data Windows 10 collects. While you could change some settings, Microsoft is finally addressing Windows 10 data collection issues in the form of a new setting.

A Look at Windows 10 Data Collection

Windows 10 has been a peeping Tom since day one, but how bad is it? When Windows 10 first launched in 2015, there were some notable issues, such as:

  • Wi-Fi Sense, which opened up Wi-Fi networks to any and everyone, but it’s since been removed
  • Peer-to-peer Windows updates which also compromise your bandwidth
  • An obscure privacy policy about data collection and usage
  • Apps using a special ID to personalize your experience during ads
  • Personalization by sending speech, typing, and inking input directly to Microsoft
  • Diagnostic and usage data being sent to Microsoft (vague description of what’s sent is in the privacy policy)
  • Cortana can learn everything about you and so can the Edge browser

Sadly, this isn’t all. While Windows 10 is easily one of Microsoft’s best operating systems, it has some obvious privacy flaws.

Related Read: Ultimate Guide: Windows 10 Settings

Controlling Privacy

Microsoft hasn’t taken many steps towards fixing the Windows 10 data collection issue until January of 2018. Even now, the fix is still in beta. Between 2015 and now, your main options for controlling your privacy were to manually change all your privacy settings or use a tool to help you change your privacy settings, which is a much easier option.

If you choose to do it the manual way, we have detailed guides on Windows 10 settings (see link above), including security and privacy settings.

Microsoft Addresses Windows 10 Data Collection

Microsoft first released full details on what’s collected at both the Basic and Full diagnostic levels in April of 2017. However, control was still limited.

It’s taken years, but Microsoft is finally releasing a way to control how much data Windows 10 is able to collect. On January 24, 2018, Microsoft introduced a new privacy tool to Windows Insiders. If you’re not an Insider, it’s free to join.

The Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer is a free tool that is expected to release with the next version of Windows 10. You have the ability to view all data that’s collected about your specific device. It’s important to note that this is a separate tool from the Microsoft Privacy Dashboard.

The Microsoft Privacy Dashboard is also getting some new features, most notably the Activity History page. This allows you to see all data stored with your Microsoft account.

As these tools are released, you’ll also be able to delete individual items that are stored. This gives you full control over what data Microsoft has stored.

If you’re an Insider, Microsoft already has full details on how to make the most of the Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer. If you’re not an Insider, don’t worry. The final version of the tool will be released in the next version of Windows 10.

Related Read: Five Quick Fixes for Annoying Windows 10 Issues

Contribution by Crystal Crowder

About the Author

Crystal lives and breathes tech. She’s spent over a decade writing tutorials, reviews, and more on tech, business, and lifestyle sites. Her idea of fun is settling down with the latest tech and gadget news.