10 Windows, Privacy and Sacrifices

Not everything is perfect on Windows 10. Or much less. As discussed in the analysis that we publish in its launch, there are inconsistencies at the visual level, abandoned applications that do not stick, and as they have already revealed many users, the problems of hardware support that make the equipment won’t be the fine that should be for your users. They all seem to have stayed small before the latest wave of headlines that we’ve seen in the media and You can make believe that Microsoft us spy constantly and it records everything we do without mercy.

Criticisms have come from all sides, and many of them have been – in my opinion- ruthless and exaggerated. And they have been for the simple fact that 1) isn’t the first to want to register what we do, 2) offers all kinds of information and options to disable this monitoring and 3) these tracking options are there (if we’re too malpensados) to improve the user experience. For my problem is not such, and only Microsoft has made two mistakes in this regard: activate this track by default and does not clarify the situation quickly.

Windows 10 and the end of the world

Doubts and controversy over the amount of data that collects Windows 10 in our experience are not new: nothing but appeared start Windows Insider program with which it was possible to access Windows 10 Technical Preview. We already indicated that the terms of use of Windows 10 were troubling, but as many argued that registration of what we did and how did it it was reasonable and here came the first of the “sacrifices” when using Windows 10 TP: Microsoft wanted to improve the user experience in the operating system, and for this I needed to collect all kinds of events (anonymously) in the system.

Jack icon for privacy. Rub us the hands.

This mistrust has been growing over time, but is not essentially different from which has emerged following the emergence of Google services – one of the most voracious in this type of actions – or other companies. We talked about all these threats to our privacy in “Machine please do not I listen to both” and there reflejábamos techniques that different manufacturers they are used for ‘spying’ us unless we know it and while companies clarify the situation easily.

That is what has happened also to Microsoft. Since the launch we have attended to the discovery of several “threats” to our privacy by Windows 10. Including scandal with WiFi Sense technology, the nobody seemed to complain when it appeared more than one year ago in Windows Phone 8.1. Brian Krebs, a security expert, warned of what enabled that option and did something alarmist way. The thing, however was not or much less so serious – in Redmond they offered their own FAQ- as they explained on Ars Technica with clarity. Not only that: as also with many other “threats”, disable that option in Windows 10 is within the reach of somebody.

Then came the criticism by its called Windows Update Delivery Optimization (WUDO), a system that allowed Microsoft to use our PC and our connection broadband as part of a system of distribution of patches and updates. Redmond had been invented your own method to take advantage of P2P downloads. Bright.

But for some suddenly had made us, without knowing it, in members of a botnet controlled by Microsoft. More or less. Or that wanted to imply some media, who complained that Microsoft stole us bandwidth. Others were less aggressive and more informative, explaining that this feature was simply a way to decentralize the distribution of patches. Again Microsoft FAQ if there were doubts, and again it is easy to disable that option.

And the threats to our privacy follow, follow, and continue. In BGR told us how Windows 10 spy virtually everything we do and offered information on how to avoid such tracking. In The Wall Street Journal claimed in the headline that Windows 10 is not spyware – goodness – but wants our data (is there any company that does not want them?). ZDNet gave us a guide to paranoid who want to ensure Windows 10 (against them).

Everything seems a threat in Windows 10. Cortana listens to us. It records how to type. Even how we wrote by hand if we use a pointer and a touch screen. Microsoft Edge wants to know our location (who no, again?), the system wants to submit advertising aimed just at us with an “Avertising ID”. It urges us to use a Microsoft account so we benefit from all the options of synchronization with OneDrive or not makes it easy to use a local account. And more. And more. And more. And again, more guides, and more, and more… to stop all these “threats”. Fear sells. And if not, that is to say the insurance companies, or, if we focus on the technology segment to manufacturers and developers of anti-virus and security solutions.

The eternal debate between comfort, performance and privacy

Everything they say media, everything you’ve seen and what we have discussed is real. Microsoft, in fact, wants all those data. For what you want them to, it is of course subject of discussion, as you know for what they want them to other companies that play with all that information. One can trust – and relax – and transfer them without battle, wary- or disable many preferences you want.

Here, Microsoft does not deceive anyone. His only mistake, I think, has been to activate these options by default and not to clarify the situation of the whole. But access to all these privacy options to disable them or enable them at whim is within our reach. The section on privacy of the configuration of Windows 10 is one of the most prominent. I am concerned that it is so outstanding, really: There are many options, too many, and Windows 10 does not precisely easy things for those users with less experience.

There is much room for improvement, but in Redmond – again, is my opinion- they have not done anything “evil”. Even when you upgrade to Windows 10 or installs it, the system introduces you to a screen that can accept the preferences by default, or customize them before installing. There can disable things like the location tracking, which applications are the default (Microsoft Edge becomes in default browser if we do nothing, rather than complained Mozilla), or information sharing with Microsoft by starting to use the system.

But of course, many users do not want to complicate your life, or don’t realize that option – must recognize that not too highlighted-, and blame fall to Microsoft, which perhaps should show greater transparency in this respect. It seems that not OK with a 2,000 words – shorter and more informal privacy statement hadn’t come evil-even with all the tools that Microsoft puts in our hands to turn off all these options. That as I also say it can be improved, no doubt. It is difficult to guess when you have more than 1,000 million users with more than 1,000 million of different personal/professional situations, and with more than 1,000 million of hardware configurations (well, maybe not so many) that can make the experience casque. Or I imagine what it should cost to try to assume that responsibility.

And yet it all comes down to mere questions about what offer us 10 Windows and we have to sacrifice to be able to enjoy it. These are questions that many other companies make us every day and that we continuously respond. These are questions that make us to evaluate what we want to achieve and what sacrifices we want to do to achieve it. If you don’t want Google to collect your data, do not use their services. If you don’t want to hear what you say your TV, turn off speech recognition and dispenses with that capacity. If you don’t want that third parties as Dropbox, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Flickr, Instagram, über try to get (to a greater or lesser extent) all your data and all that you do with them, do not use their services. It is applied common sense. But if you think the comfort offered by those services you outweighs, if you trust (minimally) in these companies, or if you simply need these services, use them. The same goes for Windows 10:

  • Talk to Cortana and use all your options or not?
  • Would you like that updates reach you as soon as possible or not?
  • Would you like to share your WiFi without effort with friends and acquaintances or not?
  • Would you like that information (and advertising) showing Cortana or Microsoft Edge you adjusts to your profile and location not you out the ads of a Russian detergent sold in Vladisvostok or not?
  • Would you like that Microsoft recognizes increasingly better way you talk or your writing or not?
  • Do you want to save your data in the cloud or not?
  • Would you like to Edge to record what you type in order to show you suggestions and “predict” what you want until you are done writing or not?
  • Would you like the problems and conflicts that occur in the system with your settings to allow try to help find solutions for you and other users or not?

Ultimately, want to use everything that gives you 10 Windows, or not? Because in doing so you have to make some sacrifices. If you decide not to use Cortana, or not sharing your WiFi, or not “feed” the system with your interaction to make it behave better with you and other users, no problem. It’s your choice.

Even have released tools to try to facilitate the blocking of such registration data or the famous telemetry – that precisely records the usage of the system and its applications-. Here’s one, and here another. If you don’t want to use the settings in Windows 10, those are alternative valid. But again it comes down to a question of sacrifices. As in almost everything what refers to privacy and our comfort.

Circulate. Here there is nothing to do.