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Microsoft intros major new Windows 10 privacy features

by Todd Haselton | January 11, 2017January 11, 2017 6:30 am PDT

Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Windows and Devices Terry Myerson recently revealed several of the company’s major security and privacy initiatives. Two highlights include a new web dashboard for Windows users and a brand new privacy configuration tool coming to Windows 10.

The web-based dashboard is similar to a set of tools offered by Google and allows users of Microsoft’s services, including Cortana and Maps, to see the data that’s being stored for use by Cortana. If you want to delete some of that data, or just see what sort of collection Microsoft is doing, you can do so right from your web browser. “This is our first step in expanding the tools that give you visibility and control over your data spanning Microsoft products and services, and we will continue to add more functionality and categories of data over time,” Myerson said.

The second big change is a new setup tool that will launch in the Windows 10 Creator’s update this spring. As you move through the Windows 10 installation, instead of using an “Express Settings” setup, you’ll be presented with a new tool that will “show you simple but important settings and you will need to choose your settings before you can move forward with setup,” Myserson explained. “If you are already using Windows 10, we will use notifications to prompt you to choose your privacy settings.”

You’ll be able to toggle whether or not you want to share your location, speech recognition data and diagnostics, and also choose whether or not you want Microsoft to show relevant advertisements or not. Myerson specifically said it will never dig into messages or pictures to serve up ads.

The choice is yours

Functionality will be limited if you turn some of this information off — your computer can’t give you the accurate weather for your current location without access to that data, for example — but choice is the important factor for most people. If you want it on, you can leave it on. If you want it off, you can do that, too.

Microsoft

Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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