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Windows 10 is quickly turning out to not be all its cracked up to be. As the recent Lenovo debacle demonstrated, a feature from Windows 8, which remains a part Windows 10, can be exploited by hardware manufacturers for nefarious purposes. Now, concerns are being raised about Windows 10’s privacy settings.

Many of Microsoft’s services, like OneDrive, Cortana and Bing, collect enormous amounts of personally identifiable data and send it to Microsoft servers. It is possible to dig into to the privacy settings to disable these features, however it seems that the privacy settings may not mean much when it comes to Microsoft collecting personal information. According to investigation by Peter Bright of Ars Technica, some of these Windows services will continue to make contact with Microsoft servers, even if they are disabled in the settings. For some of these services its not entirely clear what data is being transmitted, but a unique machine ID is being sent by some of them.

When questioned by Ars Technica, Microsoft Stated, “As part of delivering Windows 10 as a service, updates may be delivered to provide ongoing new features to Bing search, such as new visual layouts, styles and search code. No query or search usage data is sent to Microsoft, in accordance with the customer’s chosen privacy settings. This also applies to searching offline for items such as apps, files and settings on the device.” Concerning the contact between those services and Microsoft servers, Bright concludes, “The traffic could be innocuous, but the inclusion of a machine ID gives it a suspicious appearance.” Suspicious indeed, and given Microsoft’s track record, there’s no reason to give them any benefit of the doubt regarding privacy. It should be possible to disable these services entirely if the user wishes.

Do you think Microsoft is intruding on users’ privacy with these services? Leave your comments below.

Max Michael

Senior Writer

I’m a technology reporter located near the Innovation District of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.