Microsoft has been warned it could face a mass legal action over its “blatant disregard” for user privacy in Windows 10, amid claims that the operating system sends encrypted data from users’ machines every five minutes.
Windows 10 was launched at the end of July last year, and is one of the most advanced software upgrades in recent years. However, it has come under fire as many of its tracking and data analytical elements come as default; users have to go in to the system to unclick them.
Despite numerous attempts to appease privacy campaigners, it appears the controversy will not be going away any time soon.
Privacy group the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) launched an online petition against the company in June, which has so far gathered 6,000 signatures from users demanding changes to Windows 10.
In a blog post, the group said: “Microsoft may find that it has inadvertently discovered just how far it can push its users before they abandon a once-trusted company for a better, more privacy-protective solution.
“Time after time, with each update, Microsoft has chosen to employ questionable tactics to cause users to download a piece of software that many do not want. What [they] actually wanted doesn’t seem to matter”
The EFF has also slammed the amount of data Windows 10 gathers and sends to Microsoft. Through Cortana, Microsoft collects location data, text input, voice input, touch input and web pages visited, along with telemetry data regarding general use of the computer, including programs run and for how long.
The only way to prevent sending this data to Microsoft is to not install security updates.
Meanwhile, Mike Patterson (founder and CEO of security analytics organisation Plixer), claims Microsoft Windows 10 sends encrypted data from users’ machines every five minutes.
Even when he opted out of everything he could find, regarding data transfer, the OS still continued to do it. The content was encrypted so that it is impossible to know what is going out, essentially hiding this information from the end-user.
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