Just days after the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft is under attack over its default settings, which users say compromises their privacy.
Over 14 million users have installed the operating system within the first 24 hours, but hundreds of people have now gone online to criticise the operating system’s standard settings.
It is reported that the default settings automatically send personal information to Microsoft, share Wi-Fi passwords with online friends, use bandwidth to upload data to other computers and remove the option for users to opt out of security updates.
The majority of complaints relate to the new personalised adverts which are embedded in the operating system. When installing the new system Microsoft assigns the user an advertising ID which ties to the email address registered with the company.
With this information Microsoft is able to personalise advertisements to the user. Microsoft has even applied this new advertising scheme to its default Solitaire application, which now presents users with video alerts that cannot be avoided.
Windows 10 also uses this information to collect data to improve its virtual personal assistant, Cortana. The application “collects and uses various types of data, such as your device location, data from your calendar, the apps you use, data from your emails and text messages, who you call, your contacts and how often you interact with them on your device”. Users are given the option to opt out of sharing this information, but critics are saying that this isn’t enough.
According to the Guardian, the European digital rights organisation (EDRi) sums up the company’s 45 pages of terms and conditions by saying: “Microsoft basically grants itself very broad rights to collect everything you do, say and write with and on your devices in order to sell more targeted advertising or to sell your data to third parties.”
In many ways this is becoming the norm for the technology industry, as both Apple and Google now require access to the user’s personal information in order to provide personal responses.