Windows 10‘s privacy settings very much need to be frowned at. Essentially: unless you pay close attention to the fluffy options offered when you first install Microsoft’s new operating system, it’s going to quietly track your behaviour and use it to fire targeted ads at you, as well as keeping tabs on your location history, data from messages, calendars, contacts and God knows what else. It is a bit scary. At least some of this stuff can be turned off after the fact, however. I’ll explain how to do that below.
Yesterday we talked about whether or not you should upgrade to Microsoft’s new operating system and before that we looked at the potentially dodgy WiFi Sense feature. Privacy is an even bigger issue.
Conventional wisdom has it that Microsoft’s fight for technological relevance is against Apple. For a time that was true, but as of late they’ve effectively ceded the floor to the Cupertino mob when it comes to hardware (although I hope the Surface Pro line continues – I’m a big fan) and have once again narrowed their computing focus to software. The battle there is against Google, whose search, browser and productivity tools increasingly form a loose, web-based operating system. People aren’t so hot on paying for things these days, which means the money comes from harvesting data and flogging it to advertisers and other organisations who want to know exactly what we’re all up to online. Microsoft want a piece of that, so if you ever wondered why they’ve made the Windows 10 upgrade free to Win 7 & 8 users, here’s one possible answer. Windows 10 has all sorts of user tracking baked right in.
I bet I can whip up a PowerShell script to change the local settings from “Take all my data” to “Mind your own damned business”.
Also, Lifehacker has a nice article with more info on what settings need to be changed in Windows 10.