Microsoft has been accused by the The Electronic Frontier Foundation for disregarding user choice and privacy with Windows 10. EFF employee Amul Kalia, in a very harsh editorial, calls on Microsoft to “come clean with its user community” this is based over a growing number of Windows 10 privacy concerns. According to Kalia;
Windows 10 sends an unprecedented amount of usage data back to Microsoft
She also explained that enabling Cortana increases the amount of data passed to Microsoft. “While users can disable some of these settings, it is not a guarantee that your computer will stop talking to Microsoft’s servers,” says Kalia. “A significant issue is the telemetry data the company receives.” Microsoft has previously insisted it anonymizes telemetry data, but the EFF is concerned the company hasn’t explained exactly how it does this. “Microsoft also won’t say how long this data is retained, instead providing only general timeframes.”
Although telemetry data is obviously a concern, the EFF focuses on Microsoft’s confusing link between this data and security patches. “Microsoft has tried to explain this lack of choice by saying that Windows Update won’t function properly on copies of the operating system with telemetry reporting turned to its lowest level,” Kalia claims. “Microsoft is claiming that giving ordinary users more privacy by letting them turn telemetry reporting down to its lowest level would risk their security since they would no longer get security updates.”
The EFF also blasts Microsoft for enforcing users to upgrade to Windows;
The tactics Microsoft employed to get users of earlier versions of Windows to upgrade to Windows 10 went from annoying to downright malicious – Amul Kalia.
EFF demands that Microsoft offers “real, meaningful opt-outs to the users who want them.” The tech giant responded to the EFF concerns in a statement to ZDNet. “Microsoft is committed to customer privacy and ensuring that customers have the information and tools they need to make informed decisions,” says a Microsoft spokesperson. “We listened to feedback from our customers and evolved our approach to the upgrade process. Windows 10 continues to have the highest satisfaction of any version of Windows.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is an international non-profit digital rights group based in San Francisco, California. Formed in July 1990 by John Gilmore, John Perry Barlow and Mitch Kapor in response to a series of actions by law enforcement agencies that led them to conclude that the authorities were gravely uninformed about emerging forms of online communication, and that there was a need for increased protection for Internet civil liberties.
EFF provides funds for legal defense in court, presents amicus curiae briefs, defends individuals and new technologies from what it considers abusive legal threats, works to expose government malfeasance, provides guidance to the government and courts, organizes political action and mass mailings, supports some new technologies which it believes preserve personal freedoms and online civil liberties, maintains a database and web sites of related news and information, monitors and challenges potentiallegislation that it believes would infringe on personal liberties and fair use, and solicits a list of what it considers abusive patents with intentions to defeat those that it considers without merit.
Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Redmond, Washington, that develops, manufactures, licenses, supports and sells computer software, consumer electronics and personal computers and services. Its best known software products are the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, Microsoft Office office suite, and Internet Explorer and Edge web browsers. Its flagship hardware products are the Xbox game consoles and the Microsoft Surface tablet lineup. It is the world’s largest software maker by revenue, and one of the world’s most valuable companies.