(Listen Up Microsoft heads.) I can't use Cortana. I cannot actually bring myself to open Cortana.

It's sad really because I have been a PC Artificial Intelligence Freak since Virtual Personalities came out with Sylvie (Verbots) and Zabaware came out with Ultra Hal in the early 2000's. Over the past 15 years personal PC AI hasn't changed/grown much until Siri came along. Unfortunately, I'm not into Apple products. Microsoft came with a promise of a Siri killer. A PC AI that would work better than Siri. I waited patiently until Windows 10 release. I made sure had new working headphones and microphone. I made sure Speech Recognition was working and trained so I could make the most use of Cortana. I was imaging Cortana having all the features of Dragon Speech Recognition coupled with Siri's search abilities and personality. I wanted Cortana to be my Personal PC assistant. I was looking forward to this awesome ride.

Then I started reading about all Windows 10 ways Microsoft could download my personal data for their own use - which in Windows 10 is ON by default if you blindly use the Express settings (like the conniving Microsoft wants you to do - notice the word Con in Conniving) as well as a host of other places to disable like unwanted behavior.

Someone mentioned you could actually turn all this off with two registry hacks but my searching turned up at least 5 other places in windows that wanted to steal your data (through various settings all over the system.) I think this way is better than the registry hacks because this way I see Exactly what is trying to download my data and am stopping it at it's source item by item. The two registry hacks may cover the multitude of offending data thefts but you'll never know what feature is doing what or why.

I found this on Cortana:
Exercise Cortana Caution

While Cortana may be one of the most exciting parts of Windows 10, she’s a bit intrusive. Microsoft prides itself on Cortana’s ability to learn about you and create a more personal experience, but in order to do this Cortana has to gather a lot information from you. This information includes anything from location, contacts, and even speech and handwriting data. Perhaps most significantly, all your interactions with Cortana are stored in the cloud.
All of this is part of Microsoft’s attempt to make Windows 10 more personalized, but if that sounds too creepy for you, you can adjust your settings by logging in here. From there you can clear the “interests” data that Cortana and Bing learned about you, as well as clear other Cortana data including “Speech, Inking and Typing” information.
"Logging In Here" is a link to Bing.com. You can log into your Bing account if you have one (I don't) and disable some of these - I am not using my Microsoft normal account nor my Insider account because I don't want Microsoft to get any of my private info. Why would Microsoft require me to get and use a Bing account when I can already opt out of a Microsoft account over a Local Account. That's more intrusive control by Microsoft I should not have to give. Again.. it seems no one remembers Microsoft (among others) getting caught in the NSA spying operation (PRISM) - and whats more scary - people like sheep don't seem to care.

* --> So I'm looking for registry hacks to turn off those features of Cortana that I would otherwise have to turn off at Bing.com - but still be able to use Cortana normally. Any ideas on this?

Microsoft.. really - You guys are hurting yourselves. I guess you don't care anymore because you are now giving away the operating system. Your plan as I see it is to introduce all this draconian behavior into windows (most of it snuck in behind our backs) then give the OS away so freely everyone uses it - thus providing a very large base of data mining for your illegal use and the illegal use of your partner the NSA with whom you happily work to circumvent my Constitutional Rights to Privacy. It looks like this is exactly what Microsoft is doing, and they are bold about it, not afraid of the consequences or the wishes of We The People.

Microsoft, if you want to keep me and thousands others like me, you'll remove these things from Cortana or allow us to do it Locally without more intrusive stunts such as making us sign into another controlling account. No other company or operating system has such draconian tactics. Microsoft has no shame.