Windows 10 User Data Sent To Microsoft Even When Privacy Protection Is On

Windows 10 User Data Sent To Microsoft Even When Privacy Protection Is On

A new report claims that Microsoft is collecting private user data, even when privacy settings are enabled. Microsoft has responded that the data is benign and only applies to search features and visuals.
(Photo : Microsoft | Tech Times)

Windows 10 is sending private user data to Microsoft — even when privacy settings are activated by the user, according to a new report. Microsoft claims the data is only related to search features and visuals.

Windows 10 has seen a relatively successful launch so far, with over 20 million users having upgraded to the new OS only several weeks into its official release. While some users are experiencing problems with various aspects of the upgrade, including Wi-Fi connectivity, Chrome browser, audio issues and automatic updates causing endless crash loops, most users and critics are generally pleased with the update.

That's more than can be said for the general response to Microsoft's new privacy settings, which were roundly criticized for allowing widespread collection of user data by the company. While one solution appears to be opting out of the data collection by activating all available privacy settings, a new report indicates that even with those settings, the company is still collecting some private user data.

A local login (as opposed to a Microsoft account) was created, on which Microsoft's privacy settings were fully enacted, and on which the company's Bing search features and Cortana were disabled. Analysis showed that bits of data were still being sent to and from the company, with a user identification number attached. The nature of the information was often unclear, and much of it was generally considered benign, but this still shouldn't be happening.

The report found that even though no live tiles were pinned to the Start menu, data was also periodically downloaded to the account using unencrypted HTTP, which seems completely unnecessary, given that there is no specific tile on the account that corresponds to the data.

Microsoft responded:

"As part of delivering Windows 10 as a service, updates may be delivered to provide ongoing new features to Bing search, such as new visual layouts, styles and search code. No query or search usage data is sent to Microsoft, in accordance with the customer's chosen privacy settings. This also applies to searching offline for items such as apps, files and settings on the device."