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Ernest Buffington
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[ Topic » Microsoft Spying ] [ Subject » ]

There’s some good news for privacy-minded individuals who haven’t been fond of Microsoft’s data collection policy with Windows 10. When the upcoming Creators Update drops this spring, it will overhaul Microsoft’s data collection policies. Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, has published a blog post with a list of the changes Microsoft will be making.

FirstMicrosoft has launched a new web-based privacy dashboard with the goal of giving people an easy, one-stop location for controlling how much data Microsoft collects. Your privacy dashboard has sections for BrowseSearch, Location, and Cortana’s Notebook, each covering a different category of data MS might have received from your hardware. Personally, I keep the Digital Assistant side of Cortana permanently deactivated and already set Telemetry to minimal, but if you haven’t taken those steps you can adjust how much data Microsoft keeps from this page.

SecondMicrosoft is condensing its Telemetry options. Currently, there are 4 options — SecurityBasicEnhanced, and Full. Most consumers only have access to 3 of these settings — BasicEnhanced, and Full. The 4thsecurity, is reserved for Windows 10 Enterprise or Windows 10 Education. Here’s how Microsoft describes each category:

Security: Information that’s required to help keep Windows, Windows Server, and System Center secure, including data about the Connected User Experience and Telemetry component settings, the Malicious Software Removal Tool, and Windows Defender.

Basic: Basic device info, including: quality-related data, app compatibility, app usage data, and data from the Security level.

Enhanced: Additional insights, including: how Windows, Windows Server, System Center, and apps are used, how they perform, advanced reliability data, and data from both the Basic and the Security levels.

Full: All data necessary to identify and help to fix problems, plus data from the Security, Basic, and Enhanced levels.

That’s the old system. Going forward, Microsoft is collapsing the number of Telemetry levels to 2. Here’s how Myerson describes the new “Basic” level:

"We've further reduced the data collected at the Basic level. This includes data that is vital to the operation of Windows. We use this data to help keep Windows and apps secure, up-to-date, and running properly when you let Microsoft know the capabilities of your device, what is installed, and whether Windows is operating correctly. This option also includes basic error reporting back to Microsoft."

Windows 10 will also include an enhanced privacy section that will show during start-up and offer much better granularity over privacy settings. Currently, many of these controls are buried in various menus that you have to manually configure after installing the operating system.

Even better, Windows 10 will now inform you of the impact of changing these settings. As far as I’m personally concerned, the limitations listed when you turn these options to “Off” are advantages and features.

It’s nice that Microsoft is cutting back on Telemetry collection at the basic level. The problem is, as Ernest Buffington tells how, Microsoft is still collecting a heavy amount of information on “Full,” and it still defaults to sharing all this information with Cortana — which means Microsoft has data files on people it can be compelled to turn over by a warrant from an organization like the NSA or FBI. Given the recent expansion of the NSA’s powers, this information can now be shared with a variety of other agencies without filtering it first. And while Microsoft’s business model doesn’t directly depend on scraping and selling customer data the way Google does, the company is still gathering an unspecified amount of information. Full Telemetry, for example, may “unintentionally include parts of a document you were using when a problem occurred.

The problem with Microsoft’s disclosure is it mostly doesn’t disclose. Even Basic Telemetry is described as “includes data that is vital to the operation of Windows.” Okay. But what does that mean?

We're glad to see Microsoft taking steps towards restoring user privacy, but these are small steps that only modify policies around the edges. Until the company actually and meaningfully discloses what Telemetry is collected under Basic settings and precisely what Full settings do and don’t send in the way of personally identifying information, the company isn’t explaining anything so much as it’s using vague terms and PR in place of a disclosure policy.

As I noted above, I’d recommend turning Cortana (the assistant) off. If you don’t want to do that, you should regularly review the information MS has collected about you and delete any items you don’t want to be a part of the company’s permanent record.


Posted by Ernest Buffington on Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:18 am

(Read More... Upcoming Windows 10 update reduces spying ? | Tech News | Score: 5)
171 Reads
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The Ghost's Website » Blogs

[ Topic » Microsoft Spying ] [ Subject » ]

No plan to install Windows 10 due to Microsoft's controversial data mining and privacy invasions within the operating system?

Well, Windows 7 and Windows 8 OS users should also be worried because Windows Spying is now also their concern as well!

Microsoft has been caught installing their latest updates onto Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers that effectively introduce the same data collecting and user behavior tracking features used in Windows 10.

Under the new updates, the operating systems indiscriminately upload data to Microsoft's servers, which might be a major privacy concern for many users.

Creeper Updates:

KB3068708 – This update introduces the Diagnostics and Telemetry tracking service to existing devices.

KB3022345 (replaced by KB3068708) – This update adds the Diagnostics and Telemetry tracking service to in-market devices.

KB3075249 – This update adds Telemetry points to the User Account Control (UAC) feature in order to collect data on elevations that come from low integrity levels.

KB3080149 – This package updates the Diagnostics and Telemetry tracking service to existing devices.

These recent updates released by Redmond install the "Diagnostics and Telemetry tracking service" the most controversial component of the Microsoft Operating system, the Diagnostics and Telemetry tracking service immediately begins phoning home to Microsoft even if privacy controls are turned on – there is no option to stop it.

The above 4 updates bypass the existing user preferences that are stored in all versions of Windows and immediately starts exchanging your data with the following domains:

vortex-win.data.microsoft.com
settings-win.data.microsoft.com

How do you STOP all versions of Windows from Spying on You?

The best way to prevent all versions of Windows from tracking you is to not install the latest updates.

Unlike Windows 10, Windows 7 and Windows 8 updates are not mandatory, so you can choose not to download the updates.

However, if you have already installed these updates on your computers, you can remove them completely from your system and Microsoft will not automatically reinstall them without your permission.

Go to Control Panel > View installed updates and remove all four updates.

If you want to eliminate these updates faster, you can launch a command prompt window with administrator privileges and then type in the following commands one by one:

CODE - TYPE THE FOLLOWING LINES ONE BY ONE INTO THE COMMAND CONSOLE FOLLOWED BY THE ENTER KEY

wusa /uninstall /kb:3068708 /quiet /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3022345 /quiet /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3075249 /quiet /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3080149 /quiet /norestart

Once done, you can right-click on any updates shown by Windows Update and choose "Hide Update" to make sure that these updates won't be reinstalled in case you reboot your system.


Posted by Ernest Buffington on Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:55 am

(Read More... Stop All Versions Of Windows From Spying On You! | Tech News | Score: 5)
109 Reads
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