Hidden ad setting in Windows 10 Creators Update could sneak into your privacy

Radu Tyrsina
by Radu Tyrsina
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
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Although Microsoft says it is committed to upholding the privacy of its customers by making tweaks to the Windows 10 Creators Update, a Dutch consumer group believes more changes need to be done to give users a wider control over their data the moment they install the update due for release next month.

The Creators Update will try to address privacy complaints by introducing an improved OOBE. However, Consumentenbond released an advisory that suggests some hidden settings in the update could intrude into user privacy. These settings are not immediately visible, the group claims, thereby potentially resulting in personalized ads being targeted to Windows 10 users.

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Consumentenbond said in particular that users might encounter several options during the process of installing and configuring the Creators Update. Some of these options concern some privacy measures in Windows 10, and one in particular could not be seen unless users hover the mouse over the right screen.

The hidden setting contains an ad option that Microsoft says allows the OS to use adverting ID to “make ads more interesting to you based on your app usage.” That means the operating system might scan the apps installed in your PC and show ads according to the information it collects.

Consumentenbond urged the Redmond giant to allow users to activate advertising tracking on their computers and let them see an option that is turned on by default.

Microsoft clarified to the group afterward that the findings were based on a preview version of the Windows 10 Creators Update. The software titan added that it continues to enhance the privacy settings in Windows 10.

Given that Microsoft only has a few weeks prior to the launch of the Creators Update, it is now more imperative for the company to make sure that user privacy is not compromised once the update rolls out to general consumers.

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