Tech by VICE

Microsoft Address Windows 10 Privacy Concerns Two Months After Launch

The company’s thinking boils down to, these features are helpful, but also optional.

by Nicholas Deleon
Sep 28 2015, 7:17pm

Image: Mike Mozart/Flickr

I did not expect to see this from Microsoft today.

Terry Myerson, who runs Microsoft's Windows division, has just published a lengthy blog postaddressing various privacy concerns that were voiced in the days after Windows 10's launch in July.

In short, privacy activists were concerned with the amount of data that Windows 10, and specifically Cortana, Microsoft's approximation of Siri or Google Now, collects from users by default. This data includes things like device location, calendar entries, the apps you use, who you email and how often you contact them.

Microsoft's position is that it needs to collect this personal data to improve the overall Windows 10 experience. Myerson noted that Cortana provides score updates if you tell it your favorite teams. Without this knowledge, this feature of Cortana wouldn't work.

Myerson also noted that an upcoming update will change Windows 10's default behavior so it won't automatically send parents a weekly "activity update" of what websites their children visited and for how long they used the computer. Myerson said that users who are uncomfortable with Windows 10 scanning the very words they type (which is used to improve autocomplete) can disable that feature in the settings.

While Microsoft did not say was why it took this long to address these concerns, though Myerson did say the company "really appreciates the rich dialogue in making Windows 10 better for all of us."

"In today's connected world, maintaining our privacy is an incredibly important topic to each of us," Myerson said. "I assure you that no other company is more committed, more transparent and listening harder to customers on this important topic than we are."