Cortana: The spy in Windows 10
Credit: Pixabay Cortana, Windows 10ís built-in virtual assistant, is both really cool and really creepy
By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
| Aug 15, 2016 4:00 AM PT
When I first saw Mr. Spock talking to the Enterprise
ís computer, I thought it was so cool. I still do. But the more I look at Cortana, Windows 10ís inherent virtual assistant, the more creeped out I get.
Letís start with Cortanaís fundamental lust for your data. When itís working as your virtual assistant itís collecting your every keystroke and spoken syllable. It does this so it can be more helpful to you. If you donít like that, well, youíve got more problems than just Cortana. Google Now and Apple Siri do the same things. And itís not just virtual assistants; every cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) does this to one degree or another ó Google Docs, Office 365, whatever.
But Cortana doesnít stop there. With the recently released Windows 10 Anniversary Update, hereafter Windows 10 SP1, you canít shut Cortana off
Maybe you donít mind Microsoft listening to your every word so it can catch when you say, ďHey, Cortana.Ē I do. Yes, I want the coolness factor of being able to talk to my computer. But I want the reassurance that itís not listening when I donít need it to be. I want a simple on/off switch. Windows 10 SP1 doesnít have one. This is interesting, though: Windows 10 Education does
. Microsoft apparently is willing to respect the privacy of students. The rest of us? Not so much.