Whether you are just starting to look at Windows 10, or you have been upgraded since pre-release you might have wondered about just how much information Microsoft is stealing exploiting selling “using to make your experience better”. The truth is that Windows 10 sends a lot of your information to Microsoft. Now whether that’s a good thing or not depends on what features you find critical and how much you value privacy.
So what type of information is Microsoft obtaining? By default, Microsoft will collect your Contacts, Calendar details, keyboard use, location history and browsing history among other things. To make things worse you could disable these collections only to find out that they have been re-enabled automatically by Microsoft through an update or reboot.
So what’s the beef? Why does Microsoft care about how many times I have searched for funny cat photos on the internet? Well, Microsoft is trying to create a customized experience that is unique to you. In order to do this, they need information about you like what you your interests are and where you go on the web. This enables them to do things like post funny pictures of cats to your homepage. Also this information feeds into the new AI Virtual Assistant in Windows 10 called Cortana. Per Microsoft Cortana can give you reminders based on time, places, or people, Track packages, teams, interests, and flights, send emails and texts, manage your calendar and keep you up to date, create and manage lists, chit chat and play games, find facts, files, places, and info, and open any app on your system.
So there is a lot of value for you the user by allowing Microsoft to have this information. However, you are not only allowing Microsoft to have this information you are also paying for the bandwidth to deliver it to them. In the end each person will need to decide for themselves if the benefits are worth the non-existent reduced privacy.
“So how do I turn off these features”? you might ask… I’m glad you asked. Spybot the makers of “Spybot search and destroy” have created a new product called “Spybot Anti-Beacon” (Link below). This software will not only provide you an indicator for what settings are enabled, but it will let you disable them and keep them disabled during system reboots. Simply install the software and click on the “Immunize” button to disable the most obvious settings. Additionally, you can look at the optional tab to disable further information collection. Warning! Disabling items on the optional tab will prevent you from using the features such as Cortana as you will be preventing collection of the information they use
To download Spybot Anti-Beacon click on the below link.