What data does Windows 10 collect from you? Microsoft opens up

5 Apr 2017

Windows 10. Image: Anton Watman/Shutterstock

Microsoft is opening up its digital doors, revealing what data users cough up when using Windows 10.

Starting today (5 April), Windows 10 users will be receiving an updated privacy statement, with Microsoft actively revealing the data it collects from its customers.

Historically one of the more privacy-conscious tech companies – a bar not set incredibly high – Microsoft previously challenged the US government in the latter’s attempts to access user data stored in Irish data centres.

Today, it is shifting its focus towards Windows 10 to let users know the score. This comes on the back of increased interest in its privacy feedback tool.

“For the first time, we have published a complete list of the diagnostic data collected at the basic level,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice-president of Windows.

“We are also providing a detailed summary of the data we collect from users at both basic and full levels of diagnostics,” he said.

Individual data points that relate to a specific item are collected together and called events, further organised into diagnostic areas.

Since Windows 10 was released last year, Microsoft has revised how much data it stores, streamlining it in an attempt to reduce its haul while maintaining performance.

Myerson claims that the number of events it collects from users has been halved at a basic level.

The new update to Windows 10 allows users to review their privacy settings, something which should always be encouraged.

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“We are on a journey with you, and fully committed to putting you in control and providing the information you need to make informed decisions about your privacy,” said Marisa Rogers, Windows and devices group privacy officer.

Future updates will see this dialogue between users and Windows continue, with feedback appearing to shape the route the company goes down.

“We are committed to helping ensure you have access to even more information, and can review and delete data we collect via the Microsoft privacy dashboard,” said Rogers.

“This month, we will bring voice data to this dashboard so you can review the data we have, which improves Cortana’s ability to naturally respond to your requests as your personal digital assistant.”

Windows 10. Image: Anton Watman/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic