EU Privacy authorities unsatisfied by Microsoft’s Windows 10 Creators Update’s new privacy controls

by Surur
February 21, 2017

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While Microsoft has won over some privacy groups with the changes they made to the data collection policies in the Windows 10 Creators update it seems not all European privacy authorities are satisfied.

“Microsoft should clearly explain what kinds of personal data are processed for what purposes. Without such information, consent cannot be informed, and therefore, not valid,” noted the Article 29 Working Party, a group of 28 European data protection authorities regarding Microsoft’s simplified data sharing consent screen above.

Microsoft is introducing a new setup (aka OOBE) experience on Windows 10 which will include the most important privacy settings in one place. While setting up a new PC or a fresh install of Windows 10, users will be able to control any privacy settings they want — this includes Location, Speech Recognition, Diagnostics, Tips, and “Relevant” ads.

Along with the improved privacy control in Windows 10, Microsoft is also giving users better control over their privacy on the web. The company is launching a new privacy dashboard for its users, which will allow them to control all of their Microsoft Account’s privacy settings from a central dashboard.

The group wrote to Microsoft asking for more explanation of Microsoft’s processing of personal data for various purposes, including advertising, complaining of users’ apparent lack of control over the company’s processing of their data.

“In light of the above, which are separate to the results of ongoing inquiries at a national level, even considering the proposed changes to Windows 10, the working party remains concerned about the level of protection of users’ personal data,” the group said in a statement which also acknowledged Microsoft’s willingness to cooperate.

Microsoft has satisfied some European privacy authorities with their changes however.

The Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (FDPIC) has said the upcoming changes to the OS in 2017 address all their concerns.

“The technical implementation of the modifications requested by the FDPIC will be carried out worldwide as part of the two Windows 10 software releases planned for 2017,” the FDPIC said.

From the new privacy dashboard, users will be able to delete their browser history (from Microsoft Edge), search queries (from Bing), location data, as well as the data provided to Cortana for its Notebook feature.

The Creators Update is set to be released this April.

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