A report released by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has alleged that Microsoft ignores user choice and privacy using the Windows 10 operating system. In a scathing editorial, EFF staff member Amul Kalia called Microsoft to “come with a cleaner for the user community.” ” without the machinations of spying on Windows 10 users and privacy concerns.
It was previously reported that Windows 10 is sending an unprecedented amount of data from data usage to Microsoft,” explained Kalia, noting that this allowed Cortana to increase the amount of data provided to Microsoft.
This includes sending Microsoft data about location, text input, voice input, touch input, websites you visit, and other telemetry data.
Now, there are the five biggest privacy problems that need to be taken care of. See the explanation below and tips to avoid them.
1. Microsoft Can Obtain Your Personal Data Anytime They Want
It makes things like email and private documents transparent and could be a nice target for snooping. Although Microsoft previously pointed to the law to protect users from malicious acts, you’ll be “forced” to put a good trust in one of the world’s largest tech companies.
You do, of course, get the option of limiting the diagnostic data collected by a significant margin.
To do so, go to Diagnostics & feedback settings and select Basic Settings. That will ensure that Microsoft will collect the least amount of information from your device.
You can also opt for additional security you may obtain through a VPN. VPN will mask your actual IP and keep your privacy when browsing online. You can try the best Windows VPN if you’re mainly working on the desktop. Seek the best services, and find the one that suits your needs the best.
2. Cortana Always “Hear.”
Cortana, the virtual assistant you may get as a feature included in the Windows 10 updates, is much-vaulted. However, it could be a bit problematic when talking about privacy.
According to the privacy statement, Cortana will collect the user’s important data, including location, emails, browser history, and more. Indeed, this is very concerning.
Now to limit the Cortana’s access, you can navigate to the Windows Settings, Select Cortana and turn it off. Just like that, it’s gone. It’s also better if you also limit its capability to use microphone access.
Go to the Permissions and History page and then turn off the Cloud Search, and anything in it. Select the Manage Information that Cortana can Access option, and turn off anything that you don’t want.
3. The Browser History Synchronization
Taking some notes from the privacy agreement, it’s mentioned that when you sign in to any Windows-installed desktop using your own Microsoft account, some settings, including the data placed within the Microsoft servers, will be synchronized automatically.
This means your previous browser history, website information, and even favourites are saved and restored from Microsoft’s own server. But don’t worry, there’s a way to avoid this.
In your Microsoft Edge settings, navigate to clear browser history and check the option to “delete the history after the browser is closed”. This will prevent the browser from saving anything that remains when you close it.
4. Advertisers Can Track Your Locations
One disturbing thing that leads to a bad scenario regarding privacy issues is location history. Advertisers can gain information about someone’s location for proper ad placement.
Yes, it may be helpful for them. But it’s a hazardous method that could put them at risk for the users. So, it’s time to limit the location tracking.
To do just that, navigate to the General tab under the Windows Permission option. Select the Privacy Settings, and go under the option to use the advertising IDs.
If you want to turn this option off, this means that your advertising ID will be reset. You can’t normally access it or back to its previous state again.
5. Some Apps Run In The Background to Collect Your Data
Let’s be honest with ourselves here, not all apps from Windows are great. There’s even one app that we used once and never again. So, it’s easy for us to miss their existence completely.
But, do you know that some of them also work in the background, simply unnoticed? To prevent them from doing this, you can do as follows:
- First, you need to press Win + I at the same to open the Settings window
- Search for the System tab, and scroll down until you find Power and Battery
- Then, go to the Battery section, then Battery Usage
- Check the battery levels, click the option to show the Last 7 Days, and wait for the system to load all the apps that have been working for 7 days
- Now, it’s time to change the background app permission, click the three dots to open additional setting
- Click Manage background productivity (please note this option is only available for the apps downloaded from Microsoft Store)
- Select the drop-down button under the app permission, and select Never
- This will prevent all the apps to run in the background
- Repeat the steps above for all the apps you want to prevent
Besides protecting you from privacy risks, this method will allow the battery to run longer (if you work on laptops), which is good for productivity.
Although the new version of Windows certainly brings something new for the users, it does come with a few problems. But don’t worry, by doing the steps above, your privacy can remain private