Windows 10: Is there a way to stop Microsoft spying without turning off Cortana?

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  1. Posts : 1,506
    Windows 10 Pro x64 - XP/Vista/Win7/Win8.1 in VM for testing
       03 Aug 2016 #11

    The other area of confusion is around the sending of data to Microsoft,

    When you want to send an invite to an event to your, (and everyone's), Friend Mike, Cortana needs access to your calendar and address book,

    These are held locally and used locally otherwise with all the help Cortana is giving, to the millions of users out there, Microsoft would be buried in data that is irrelevant to them.

    They are interested in making it possible for you to invite Mike to a party - they have no intention in joining you, they've got better things to do like make operating systems
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    03 Aug 2016 #12

    Yes please, invite me to a party and I wouldn't care if MS knows about it even if it's BYOB party !!!
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    03 Aug 2016 #13

    The majority of the new functionality that Windows offers is "Cloud based". Voice recognition, for instance, uses the vast resources of the cloud to do the voice processing so your local phone or computer doesn't have to. But, this requires sending the voice sample to Microsoft for analysis to determine what you said.

    The same is true of things like spell and grammar checking. In order to have the most relevant and accurate results, they need to process this with far more resources than your typical device. Thus, they send what you type to the cloud to determine if it's misspelled or grammatically incorrect. But, that means they send what you type to Microsoft.

    You have to trust that Microsoft isn't retaining a copy of that data, or using it for nefarious purposes. They might use that data as part of aggregated statistics, or they might use it to help target ads to you (don't get worked up... this would only be in circumstances where you're already receiving ads anyways, so targeted ads are obviously better than just random ones that don't apply).

    You can call that "Spying", but I'd rather have the functionality. And if you have a Smartphone from another vendor (Apple/Google) they're doing the exact same things there as well.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  4. Posts : 3,438
    EL Capitan
       03 Aug 2016 #14

    DeaconFrost said: View Post
    I'd love to know why or where people are getting their information...to make them feel "unsafe" using Windows 10, but completely safe with any other device, like a smartphone, constantly connected to the internet.
    It has always been that way when those who jumped on the home computer bandwagon and were using AOL. Remember how it was before everyone had a computer in the home and were not using AOL. No conspiracy theories.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    03 Aug 2016 #15

    Well let's consider all the articles about Win10 spyware - clickbait. Now let's take a look at the information MS has provided us here: Privacy Statement they basically said it themselves that they ARE collecting data. Or data "samples" as they call it. Why should I care? A few reasons. First of all what if I like to visit some sites which I shouldn't (no I'm not talking about porn) and download things which I don't want other people to know about? MS knows about it. Second, in the latest anniversary update Cortana can now read documents. I don't want my work documents to become a part of Microsoft's database. It just feels wrong...
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    03 Aug 2016 #16

    zablablukas said: View Post
    Well let's consider all the articles about Win10 spyware - clickbait. Now let's take a look at the information MS has provided us here: Privacy Statement they basically said it themselves that they ARE collecting data. Or data "samples" as they call it. Why should I care? A few reasons. First of all what if I like to visit some sites which I shouldn't (no I'm not talking about porn) and download things which I don't want other people to know about? MS knows about it. Second, in the latest anniversary update Cortana can now read documents. I don't want my work documents to become a part of Microsoft's database. It just feels wrong...
    Microsoft is not making a Database of your documents. Well, at least not in the way you are implying. Yes, they have a local search database on your machine. They also have a search index of your OneDrive files. But they're not keeping a database of those files in their private vaults for their own nefarious purposes.

    One function of OneDrive, for instance, is version histories so you can roll back to a previous version if you want to. That requires, by necessity of the very function it provides, a database of your files. The same thing with File History in Windows Itself.

    Again, you can live in the stone ages with a PC that can't take advantage of modern convenience, but do you also make sure your smartphone's GPS is off so Apple or Google can't track your location (You do know they keep a database of that, right? You can look it up in your account and see where you've been).
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  7. Posts : 3,438
    EL Capitan
       03 Aug 2016 #17

    Yes Microsoft like Google, Apple and the various Linux distro's, all collect hardware information. Even with Windows 10, they are still going to have to collect hardware information so that your computer properly works. If you do not want them to interface the OS with Bing, LIve and Office365, whether you use it or not. You are going to have to turn those choices off, the same way that it has been since Windows XP.

    You also realize that any software that you use that is not written by Microsoft. If you read through the TOS, you will see that they collect data from your use of their software. When you turn on your tv box for Cable, Satellite, IPTV, your provider and Nielsen is collecting data on your viewing habits.

    Let's not forget when you go to pay at the pump for gas, the station, city, county, state & feds know the last six numbers of the credit or debit card and what type of fuel they purchased. When you pay for cash, they can associate the time stamp and receipt number, amount that you paid for what type of fuel.

    Everything has been about collection of consumer information for as long as man has been alive. How else are those we purchase from going to have what we want in stock. How is the warehouse or distributor going to need to know how much of something to keep on stock and also have always on order for demand deliveries. Lets not forget that all of that information gets passed down to the manufacturers of the various items, along with the suppliers who send the manufacturers raw materials. Also all of those up to who you deal with at the top level, have to know how many man hours it will take, so that they know how many employees to have from start to finish.
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  8. Posts : 1,506
    Windows 10 Pro x64 - XP/Vista/Win7/Win8.1 in VM for testing
       04 Aug 2016 #18

    Interesting one with the Credit/Debit card situation - I had a regular monthly payment assigned to my debit card, as I usually have all such payments direct from my bank account and I rarely used the service I basically forgot about the payment, It was a small amount so did not jump out at me when scanning my card summary.

    Some time ago my card expired and I had a new card allocated - The new card details were never given to the vendor - a month or two later I actually noticed that the vendor was taking money off my new card .

    A check with my bank informed me that as the vendor had enough of the card number correct (replacement cards always have similar numbers to the expired card with only four or so differences), and the payment was a regular one on the system the bank were obliged to pay it and neither the vendor or my bank informed me. I have since cancelled the payment with both the bank and the vendor without issue but the incident is a little scary
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9.    04 Aug 2016 #19

    Hi there

    I'd be much more worried about Amazon or Google than Ms --- all I get from Ms is the occasional TechNet letter or an announcement like Upgrade for Free to W10.

    I would bet a truckload of money that about 90% of the users out there have absolutely no idea of what a Browser sends to people like Google before it presents the web page for you.

    I'm not sure how to do it in Edge but if you start up IE in debug mode and do a Google search you might be quite amazed or horrified as to what is being sent.

    I'm sure you've had loads of spam emails offering you products "You can't possibly do without" - without you ever visiting those sites or buying products from them in the past.

    Ever wonder where that spam came from.

    This spam isn't "Randomly generated". Spam is often "more professionally targeted" these days as even a few people lured into buying products is big business for the companies concerned. The old "Spam-bots" while still existing on a small scale are so Last Century. It's all about "Monetisation" rather than old type Schoolboy Hacking" now.

    @Barman58

    Particularly in the UK - Banks have a nasty type of deal called something like "Continuous Payment Authority" which works rather like a direct debit but it's almost impossible to stop. Usually in order to stop or cancel the payment authority has to be gained from the VENDOR of the service and not the Customer of the Banks --only UK Banks could come up with that one !!!

    Things like subscriptions / memberships etc are often insidiously done this way -- BE VERY CAREFUL BEFORE SIGNING ANY CONTRACT INVOLVING REGULAR PAYMENTS. These payments are even worse than direct debits as they can be varied at any time without having to notify the customer of any change --totally EVIL concept -- as I said only UK Banks could have come up with that one.

    Continuous payment authority: manage recurring payments

    Cheers

    jimbo
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10.    28 Aug 2016 #20

    There is always a tradeoff of security and privacy versus features. Obviously, the most secure computer in the world is one that is not connected to any network, sitting in a faraday cage to prevent EMI snooping, and running on battery power. However, such a computer system is, except for certain specific needs, useless to most people.

    The fact of the matter is, we're only having this discussion because Microsoft is telling us exactly what it is doing. In fact, much of what people are complaining about is stuff MS has been doing for a long time, they've only now made the privacy ramifications of it clear.

    If MS and the government wanted to, they could snoop on everything you do without telling you about it. Whether or not you're using a Microsoft Account, or whether or not you've agreed to telemetry. There are lots of ways that MS could send that info without revealing that is what they're doing. So at some level, you have to trust Microsoft, your broadband provider, all the other networking providers out there, your router manufacturer, your wireless NIC manufacturer, your device driver manufacturers, etc... The goes on an on of potential ways you can be snooped upon.

    The point here is not that you should just roll over and accept it. It's that it's impractical, unreliable, and frankly silly to try and solve this problem with tin-foil hat style knee jerk reactions. Turning off telemetry on your OS isn't going to meaningfully reduce the amount of snooping that could be happening.

    The only real solution is to address this from a legal, social, and political perspective. To lobby your lawmakers for privacy laws, and vote them out of office if they side with corporations over you. To create meaningful privacy protection laws that have teeth, and are verified by objective observers. The data isn't going to go away, so the only way to protect privacy is to prevent the usage of that data in privacy violating means.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 
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