Don’t Keep Your Personal or Financial data on a Windows 10 Machine!ConsumerWatch / Microsoft Feb 14, 2016 - 04:47 PM GMT
Well not if you want to keep it private. Like many people I was surprised at the Edward Snowden revelations a few years ago. Nothing has seemed to change and in many cases things have got worse. Some corporations are in partnership with government agencies in regard to collection of data. Whilst the government has the right to collect data to try and protect is citizens from harm, in my opinion this data collections has gone way too far and is now breaching personal liberties.
That brings me to the new version of Windows, version 10. I recently installed it on my daughter’s computer and was surprised at how many privacy and tracking settings were on it. After a bit of investigating all these settings online, I have gone down the rabbit hole. According to this an article, (1) even after turning off all the tracking options on a computer, the researcher left the computer on overnight and tracked the traffic. He was surprised to find that Windows 10 had attempted to contact 51 Microsoft IP addresses 5,508 times. Some of the website addresses contacted include: (2)
Typing a phone number anywhere into the Edge browser transmits it to:
Everything that is said into an enabled microphone is immediately transmitted to:
If Cortana is enabled, the voice is first transcribed to text, then the transcription is sent to:
If Windows is left unattended for about 15 minutes, a large volume of traffic starts being transmitted to various servers. This may be the raw audio data, rather than just samples.
If you are still running earlier versions of windows you would think you would be safe from this tracking, but updates have been released that install this tracking into the earlier versions. Fortunately these updates can be removed. I found that these updates were installed on my Windows 7 computer on the 25th of November 2015.
The updates in question are: (3)
* KB3068708 – This update introduces the Diagnostics and Telemetry tracking service to existing devices.
* KB3022345 (replaced by KB3068708) – This update adds the Diagnostics and Telemetry tracking service to in-market devices.
* KB3075249 – This update adds telemetry points to the User Account Control (UAC) feature in order to collect data on elevations that come from low integrity levels.
* KB3080149 – This package updates the Diagnostics and Telemetry tracking service to existing devices.
These recent updates released by Redmond install the "Diagnostics and Telemetry tracking service" that is the most controversial component of the Microsoft's newest operating system. Once installed, the Diagnostics and Telemetry tracking service immediately begins phoning home to Microsoft even if privacy controls are enabled – apparently with no option to stop it.
These updates can be removed by going to your control panel, Uninstall a program, view installed updates, then put the above update numbers into the top right search box.
After doing this, I disabled automatic updates, I’ll let my antivirus program protect me rather than trust future updates.
As a final note, I explained to my teenage daughter about all the tracking and she didn’t care, she still wants to run the latest shiny new operating system!
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