Microsoft Adds Small Privacy Improvement to Windows 10

by Tracy Knauer •

Microsoft may be improving privacy in Windows 10, but only very slightly. The company has added a feature that prompts users for permission before collecting certain information about them.

A few days ago, a Twitter user reported that build 10568 of Windows 10, which has leaked for download on the Internet, gave him the option to review files that Windows Defender intended to upload to Microsoft.

Windows Defender is an anti-malware program in Windows 10 and several earlier versions of Microsoft’s operating systems. It is one of many Windows 10 apps that, by default, collect information about users and share it with Microsoft.

In the case of Windows Defender, that information would likely include data about the files a user downloads, since those are one of the things that the application monitors to detect potential security vulnerabilities.

Previous versions of Windows 10 allowed users to configure Windows Defender through the Settings interface so that it would not upload information about their systems. However, the updated version of the operating system is the first publicly available one that asks users for permission before sharing their files, even if they have not modified the default configuration in Settings.

This change follows reassurances from Microsoft last month that Windows 10 does not upload personally identifying information, only data related to system performance and the like. Of course, since Windows is closed-source software, users have to take Microsoft’s word for it that this is true.

Generally speaking, Windows 10 is the last platform you should probably be using if you are concerned about privacy. But the change to the Windows Defender behavior is a small improvement. And there are several other steps you can take to help maximize privacy on Windows 10 if the OS is a must for you.

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