UPDATE: Found a great Reddit thread explaining how to turn off a lot of the logging.
After waiting for Windows 10 to finishing installing you get presented with a customize wizard. The first screen has a large chunk of text on it, a large and clearly visible button to proceed using the default settings, and a small hard to see text link that lets you choose your own setting values instead of the defaults.
Everything about this screen is urging me to just accept the default configuration and get on with life.
Well, never being one to pass up the “Advanced” config options, I clicked the small text link.
First Set of Privacy Options
“Personalize your speech, typing, and inking input by sending contacts and calendar details, along with other associated input data to Microsoft”
I am really not sure what this feature is offering. Is it going to try to change the way I talk and type? Is it trying to matchup keywords that I input to people or events that I might have some association with?
Regardless of what feature this is trying to provide I can’t get over the fact that is says it will be “sending contacts and calendar details” and a very vague “associated input” to Microsoft. Associated input? That could be practically anything, especially since they want to “personalize your speech, typing, and inking”.
Oh, and, it’s set to enabled by default. Feeling happy about my decision to not accept the defaults!
We’d really like to see what you’re typing!
The second option, “Send typing and inking data to Microsoft to improve the recognition and suggestion platform.”, is equally unsettling. I don’t see how enabling this doesn’t give permission for anything I type to be sent to Microsoft. Again, vague and bordering on scary.
That one is enabled by default too.
“Let Windows and apps request your location, including location history, and send Microsoft and trusted partners some location data to improve location services.”
It is not clear to me exactly what I would be agreeing to allow Microsoft to collect. “Let Windows and apps request your location…“ Sounds fine, I can just reject it when it happens because I am only agreeing that they can ask me for my location. ”..including location history…“ Still assuming this is protected by my ability to decline a request when it is made. Giving an app my entire location history is a bit scary. Do I have any control over the granularity or the amount of location history data being sent?
”..and send Microsoft and trusted partners some location data to improve location services.”
Hold up, flag on the play.
In addition to allowing apps to request location data, I would also be agreeing to send, not send if I approve a request, but straight up send Microsoft and trusted partners location data that could include my entire location history and my current location. Who are the trusted partners? By whom are they trusted? I am certainly not the one doing any trusting right now.
Second Set of Privacy Options
The first option is the first useful setting I’ve seen since this started. Moving onto the second setting. Here we go again!
“Use page prediction to improve reading, speed up browsing, and make your overall experience better in Windows browsers…“
”…Your browsing data will be sent to Microsoft.”
I am going to nope right out of this one.
“Automatically connect to suggested open hotspots. Not all networks are secure.”
If half of all Windows 10 machines have this option enabled, because the user accepted the defaults, then that would make half a billion devices vulnerable to being attacked by a cheap router setup as a rogue access point with malicious software installed. This could be a windfall for anyone wanting to attack, survey or otherwise exploit nearby PCs.
“Automatically connect to networks shared by your contacts.”
But, how do they know my contacts are on that network? Did I already miss the setting where I agree to send my network logs and address book to Microsoft?
“Send error and diagnostic information to Microsoft”
There is no button for this one. Did someone forget to implement a toggle for this one? Where is it?
I am pretty surprised by the far-reaching data collection that Microsoft seems to want. But, I am even more surprised by the fact that the settings all default to incredibly intrusive. I am certain that most individuals will just accept the defaults and have no idea how much information they are giving away.
With all of these settings on these two screens enabled I might as well relocate my computer to Microsoft headquarters and have the entire company look over my shoulder.