Microsoft gets BigBrotherAward 2018 for infringing user privacy

Madeleine Dean By: Madeleine Dean
3 minute read
Microsoft BigBrother

There has been a never-ending debate about Microsoft’s privacy policy ever since the company launched Windows 10. Many users feel that the tech giant is constantly threatening their privacy through excessive personal data collection practices.

Digitalcourage, a German digital rights organisation recently offered Microsoft an important award that the company would have preferred not to receive. Indeed, the 2018 BigBrotherAward goes to Microsoft for threatening user privacy.

Digitalcourage listed a series of reason why they considered Microsoft to be the perfect recipient of this award. Here are some of them:

  • Telemetry is almost impossible to deactivate. The good news is that Microsoft says users will soon be able to disable telemetry completely. We’ll just have to wait and see if this happens.
  • A lot of user data is stored in the cloud, especially via Office 365. Microsoft can access this information at any time. As a quick reminder, the company recently announced that it would change its services agreement but many users already criticized the new policy. Indeed, Microsoft clearly admits that it can access user content on its online platforms should any services agreement infringement suspicion exist, especially if you use offensive language.

When investigating alleged violations of these Terms, Microsoft reserves the right to review Your Content in order to resolve the issue.

  • Privacy and data collection settings are too complicated for the average user to grasp. While Windows 10 Redstone 4 brings a series of new privacy settings, Digitalcourage considers that the list of options overwhelms users.

Dozens of things are there to activate and deactivate, and most of us cannot know what consequences one decision or another may have.

  • Windows 10 users can prevent Microsoft from collecting information that the OS gathers about their computers. However, when it comes to blocking data collection from the browser or the app tiles, users are left with no option. They can’t actually switch off this type of data transmission.

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  • Privacy infringements on  business customers may occur as well. There have already been may users reports about Windows 10 Enterprise ignoring user privacy settings. This type of reports made many users wonder whether there’s actually a point in customizing their privacy settings or not.

Incidentally, registry changes can only be made in the “Enterprise” variant of Windows 10, which is directed at business customers.

For more information about the reasons why Microsoft earned this award, go to BigBrotherAwards’ page. On a side note, this is the second BigBrotherAward that Microsoft has received. The company got its first Lifetime BigBrotherAward in 2002.

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