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Windows 10 Could Still Be Snooping On User Data



Yesterday, Microsoft announced that users running Windows 10 Home and Pro editions will be able to dial back data collection further than is possible today, alongside moves to make it easier to tweak privacy settings in the OS.




Windows 10 could still be snooping on user data


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If you represent an organization, such as a business or school, that utilizes Enterprise and Developer Products from Microsoft, please see the Enterprise and developer products section of this privacy statement to learn how we process your data. If you are an end user of a Microsoft product or a Microsoft account provided by your organization, please see the Products provided by your organization and the Microsoft account sections for more information.


When a Microsoft product collects age, and there is an age in your jurisdiction under which parental consent or authorization is required to use the product, the product will either block users under that age or will ask them to provide consent or authorization from a parent or guardian before they can use it. We will not knowingly ask children under that age to provide more data than is required to provide for the product.


Once parental consent or authorization is granted, the child's account is treated much like any other account. The child can access communication services, like Outlook and Skype, and can freely communicate and share data with other users of all ages. Learn more about parental consent and Microsoft child accounts.


As part of providing these features, Microsoft collects data about the usage of the features as well as information about your communications, including the time and date of the communication and users that are part of the communication.


As part of providing these features, Microsoft collects usage data about your communications that includes the time and date of the communication and the numbers or user names that are part of the communication.


Skype profile. Your Skype profile includes information you provided when you set up a Microsoft account. To enable other people to find you on Skype (or products that interact with Skype, such as Skype for Business), depending on your profile settings, your Skype profile is included in the Skype public search. Your profile includes your user name, avatar, and any other data you choose to add to your profile or display to others.


Captioning. Certain Skype features include accessibility functionality such as captioning. During Skype calls, a call participant can activate a voice-to-text feature, which allows the user to view the audio chat as text. If a user activates this feature, other call participants will not receive a notification. Microsoft uses this voice and text data to provide captioning of audio for users.


Diagnostic data. Surface Duo collects diagnostic data to solve problems and to keep the core Surface Duo experience up to date, secure, and operating properly. This data also helps us improve Surface Duo and related Microsoft products and services. The data does not include your user name, email address, or the content of your files. There are two levels of diagnostic data: Required diagnostic data and Optional diagnostic data.


Sharing data from Bing and Bing-powered experiences with third parties. We share some de-identified data (data where the identity of a specific person is not known) from Bing and Bing-powered experiences with selected third parties. Before we do so, we run the data through a process designed to remove certain sensitive data that users may have included in the search terms themselves (such as social security numbers or credit card numbers). Additionally, we require these third parties to keep the data secure and to not use the data for purposes other than for which it is provided.


Cortana legacy. Cortana in Windows 10 version 1909 and earlier collects user query data (a text transcription of the question the user asked), which is anonymized and used for product maintenance. Cortana in Windows 10 version 1909 also uses the Bing service to answer your questions. For information about the data Bing collects, see the Bing section of the Privacy Statement.


The diagnostic data collected by Microsoft Edge is transmitted to Microsoft and is stored with one or more unique identifiers that help us recognize an individual user on a device and understand the browser's service issues and use patterns.


If you sign into your SwiftKey Account and opt to share your language and typing data or voice clips, Microsoft will process your shared data in order to look for new patterns of language usage across our user base. This allows us to improve our basic models for individual languages. Language and typing data used in this process is aggregated and any words or combinations of words that might be personal to individuals or small groups of users are filtered out.


Optional diagnostic data includes more detailed information about your device and its settings, capabilities, and device health. Optional diagnostic data also includes data about the websites you browse, device activity (also sometimes referred to as usage), and enhanced error reporting that helps Microsoft to fix and improve products and services for all users. When you choose to send Optional diagnostic data, Required diagnostic data will always be included, and we collect the following additional information:


Inking and typing Recognition. You also can choose to help Microsoft improve inking and typing recognition by sending inking and typing diagnostic data. If you choose to do so, Microsoft will collect samples of the content you type or write to improve features such as handwriting recognition, autocompletion, next word prediction, and spelling correction in the many languages used by Microsoft customers. When Microsoft collects inking and typing diagnostic data, it is divided into small samples and processed to remove unique identifiers, sequencing information, and other data (such as email addresses and numeric values) which could be used to reconstruct the original content or associate the input to you. It also includes associated performance data, such as changes you manually make to text, as well as words you've added to the dictionary. Learn more about improving inking and typing in Windows.


Microsoft Defender Antivirus. Microsoft Defender Antivirus looks for malware and other unwanted software, potentially unwanted apps, and other malicious content on your device. Microsoft Defender Antivirus is automatically turned on to help protect your device if no other antimalware software is actively protecting your device. If Microsoft Defender Antivirus is turned on, it will monitor the security status of your device. When Microsoft Defender Antivirus is turned on, or is running because Limited Periodic Scanning is enabled, it will automatically send reports to Microsoft that contain data about suspected malware and other unwanted software, potentially unwanted apps, and other malicious content, and it may also send files that could contain malicious content, such as malware or unknown files for further inspection. If a report is likely to contain personal data, the report is not sent automatically, and you'll be prompted before it is sent. You can configure Microsoft Defender Antivirus not to send reports and suspected malware to Microsoft.


Voice typing. In Windows 11, dictation has been updated and renamed as voice typing. Voice typing may use both device-based and online speech recognition technologies to power its speech-to-text transcription service. You can also choose to contribute voice clips to help improve voice typing. If you choose not to contribute voice clips, you can still use voice typing. You can change your selection anytime in the voice typing settings. Microsoft will not store, sample, or listen to your voice recordings without your permission. Learn more about Microsoft and your voice data.


Xbox data shared with third parties including game and apps publishers. When you use an Xbox online game or any network-connected app on your Xbox console, PC, or mobile device, the publisher of that game or app has access to data about your usage to help the publisher deliver, support, and improve its product. This data may include: your Xbox user identifier, gamertag, limited account info such as country and age range, data about your in-game communications, any Xbox enforcement activity, game-play sessions (for example, moves made in-game, types of vehicles used in-game), your presence on the Xbox network, the time you spend playing the game or app, rankings, statistics, gamer profiles, avatars, or gamerpics, friends lists, activity feeds for official clubs you belong to, official club memberships, and any content you create or submit in the game or app.


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