Is Windows 10 collecting data without your knowledge?

Windows 10 sends information about your purchases, contacts, and speech patterns back to Microsoft, but is it worth it for users?
By Aaron Sims | Aug 09, 2015
Windows 10 is set up to relay a surprising amount of information back to Microsoft. Windows 8 was also known to do the same, and while OS X sends less information back to Apple, it still shares data about its users with the creators of the technology. According to a report from Ars Technica, the privacy policy set forth by Windows 10 is becoming the new norm.

There are a number of reasons devices might send information back to tech companies. Windows, Apple and Android devices all have app stores where users can purchase software and files straight to their hard drives. Purchasing items from these stores requires inputting a name, address, and credit card information. Some stores even require a date of birth to complete a purchase.

Purchases made through online app stores are tracked to both monitor popularity and to ensure that developers are compensated for their products. Apple also tracks location information to show you what products are popular nearby.

Windows 10 takes things a step further. The new operating system has a search function that scans both the local hard drive and the internet for results, and the online portion of these searches are sent directly back to Microsoft.

Additionally, Windows 10's speech recognition Cortana incorporates patterns in your voice as well as information about frequent appointments and contacts names so that it can better recognize what you're talking about. The new operating system also collects handwriting and typing data.

Windows 10 collects all of these data and more to ensure that its devices are running efficiently and effectively, but have they gone too far? Users can opt out of many of these data-sharing features, but the system begins to lose functionality the less you allow it to share.

Users face a trade-off with Windows 10 and newer operating systems sacrifice the use of cool new features, or sacrifice your own personal information.

 

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