Windows 10 and privacy

This video says about itself:

Windows 10: Privacy Settings to Stop Microsoft Spying

3 August 2015

Here’s how to turn off as much Windows 10 data collection as possible. It’s best if you use a Local account instead of a Microsoft Live account, but that disables some big features.

By Mark Blackwood:

Windows 10: An operating system that gathers data on everything you do

10 August 2015

Microsoft launched the latest version of its Windows operating system (OS) on July 29, promoting the event as the largest software update ever. Unlike previous releases, the new version has been offered by Microsoft to all domestic users as a free upgrade. Over 14 million users are reported to have downloaded and installed it within the first 24 hours of its release.

One question that remains unanswered, however, is: out of the 14 million who upgraded in the first 24 hours, how many had the time to read and study the 45 page privacy policy and service agreement in the End User License Agreement (EULA) prior to installation?

Following the customary corporate fanfare that generally accompanies a Windows OS release, reports rapidly emerged about marked changes to the company’s privacy policy and service agreement. The new agreement, by default, effectively gives permission for Microsoft to monitor users’ activities via the use of keylogger type spyware.

Spyware is software that enables the information about a computer and the activities that take place on it to be transmitted covertly from their hard drive to another computer. A keylogger is a type of spyware or surveillance software created to log every keystroke made on the infected machine.

A keylogger like the one in Windows 10 can record instant messages, emails, search requests, credit card details, the contents of documents and spreadsheets, or anything else that is typed on a keyboard. The log file created by the keylogger can then be sent to the designated receiver, in this case Microsoft.

According to the Guardian, the default settings of Windows 10 also permit Microsoft to control a user’s bandwidth in order to “upload data to other computers running the operating system, share Wi-Fi passwords with online friends and remove the ability to opt out of security updates.”

The main reason Microsoft wants to monitor its users en masse is to monetize information about them and their habits. With 90 percent of the world’s laptops and PCs running a Windows operating system, the company’s monopoly position gives it a huge potential for harvesting data on its customers and emulate the likes of Google and Apple.

According to Heini Järvinen, Community and Communications Manager at European Digital Rights, “Microsoft basically grants itself very broad rights to collect everything you do, say and write with and on your devices in order to sell more targeted advertising or to sell your data to third parties. The company appears to be granting itself the right to share your data either with your consent ‘or as necessary’.”

Many users, when installing Windows 10, will not know how to configure it to prevent the automatic installation of the new default software. Moreover, the vast majority of PC and laptop users download and install software without fully reading the EULA.

Web developer Jonathan Porta described the tactics used by Microsoft during the installation process of its OS, “Everything about this screen is urging me to just accept the default configuration and get on with life. … 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.”

What makes Microsoft’s new operating system all the more concerning is the corporation’s close relationship with the National Security Agency (NSA) and FBI, which have been engaged in the systematic and illegal violation of the democratic rights of computer users for years.

In 2014, NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden described the aim of his employer as wanting to “collect it all”—in other words, capture the entire content of the world’s Internet activity in order to analyze and profile all potential opponents of the American government, above all, political opposition from the working class.

Snowden revealed the depth of collaboration between the NSA and Microsoft (and other IT corporations) as they sought to monitor and collect data on users of Microsoft products. Documents sent via, Skype and SkyDrive were monitored. Microsoft even worked with the NSA to create a backdoor to its own encryption software to ensure the agency’s fullest possible access to user data.

Rather than be greeted with excitement for being a free operating system upgrade, the question that should be asked by everyone is why is a corporation like Microsoft, with such history, is so willing to give out this operating system for free.

2 thoughts on “Windows 10 and privacy

  1. Pingback: Windows 10 and privacy | Dear Kitty. Some blog | sdbast

  2. Last week, Netflix announced that its employees will get unlimited maternal and paternal leave.1

    One, big and terrible caveat: Netflix’s DVD division, which is made up of lower-wage workers, isn’t eligible. Yet this benefit is made available to employees making as much as $300,000–not the lower-paid employees who need parental leave the most.2

    Based on the big public relations campaign around their announcement, Netflix cares that the press, public, and future employees see the announcement positively. The backlash over this unfair policy has begun, and we can take it to the next level so that Netflix extends its unlimited leave policy to ALL working moms and dads–not just the ones who make the most.

    Will you tell Netflix to extend its new parental leave policy to ALL workers? All women and men should have the right to be able to work AND be a parent.

    Tell Netflix: Extend your new parental leave to all employees.

    Sign the petition

    In recent months, the lack of family leave policies in the workplace has erupted in the media as a major political issue. With big name companies like Netflix and Facebook announcing generous family-friendly packages and major 2016 presidential candidates giving a huge platform to paid leave, the shortage of workplace policies that allow all women and mothers to work has become a huge rallying issue.3

    But Netflix’s new policy, though generous, is completely unfair. Netflix profits off the backs of low-income workers only to exclude them from its new parental leave package. In fact, hourly workers make up Netflix’s very profitable DVD division, which will not have access to Netflix’s new parental benefits.4

    It’s important for women that this growing movement for paid parental leave trends in the right direction: in the United States, 70% of moms who have underage children work, 40% are the primary or sole breadwinner, 60% are the primary caregiver responsible for a family member, and the burden of no access to paid leave falls greatly on women of color.5 Yet, it is virtually the only country that doesn’t guarantee paid maternity leave.6 And the working women who do get leave are often either robbed of pay or are have as little as a few days to recover and care for a newborn–despite studies showing that as much as 40 weeks of leave is best for children’s development.7

    Our friends at the Working Families Party and Make It Work are already pressuring Netflix. If thousands of UltraViolet members pile on too, we can be the tipping point to push Netflix to do better by all moms and dads. Will you sign the petition to tell Netflix to extend its new policy to all employees?

    Thanks for speaking out.

    –Nita, Shaunna, Kat, Karin, Adam, Holly, Kaili, Kathy, Onyi, Susan, Clarise, Anathea, Audine, Ryan, Shannon, and Vanessa, the UltraViolet team


    1. Netflix will offer a year of unlimited leave for new moms and dads, The Washington Post, August 4, 2015

    2. Not All Netflix Workers Will Get ‘Unlimited’ Parental Leave, The Huffington Post, August 6, 2015

    3. Tech Companies Offer Workers The Most Paid Parental Leave, BuzzFeed, August 25, 2014

    Paid Leave Takes a Place on Hillary Clinton’s Platform, New Republic, April 14, 2015

    4. Not All Netflix Workers Will Get ‘Unlimited’ Parental Leave, The Huffington Post, August 6, 2015

    5. Modern Parenthood, Pew Research Center, March 14, 2013

    Breadwinner Moms, Pew Research Center, May 29, 2013

    Fact Sheet: Paid Sick Days, Center for American Progress, August 16, 2012

    When it comes to maternity leave, Latinas may have it the worst, Fusion, May 11, 2015

    6. America’s Family-Leave Disgrace, The New Yorker, January 22, 2015

    7. Ibid.

    Parental Leave and Child Health, Social Science Research Network, accessed August 12, 2015


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