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Windows Microsoft Privacy Technology

Windows 10 Still Phones Home With Data In Spite of Privacy Settings 316

Penguinisto writes: According to Ars Technica, Windows 10 will still send telemetry and other data to Microsoft-owned domains — no matter how tightly you crank down the privacy settings. Even with everything buttoned down, Cortana, OneDrive, and Web Search from the Start Menu disabled, the OS still phones home, using a random system ID that persists across reboots. It apparently also tries to bypass proxies to do it. "Some of the traffic looks harmless but feels like it shouldn't be happening. For example, even with no Live tiles pinned to Start (and hence no obvious need to poll for new tile data), Windows 10 seems to download new tile info from MSN's network from time to time, using unencrypted HTTP to do so. ... Other traffic looks a little more troublesome. Windows 10 will periodically send data to a Microsoft server named ssw.live.com. ... The exact nature of the information being sent isn't clear—it appears to be referencing telemetry settings—and again, it's not clear why any data is being sent at all. We disabled telemetry on our test machine using group policies."
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Windows 10 Still Phones Home With Data In Spite of Privacy Settings

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  • Are Live tiles pinned to your start bar completely independent of user, or do different users have different settings for that? Response times and reactivity are king. Making sure the data is already there when a different user logs on, or when you go to the page to see what's available, is a thing.

    Not saying there shouldn't be an easy way to really turn it off, but "no obvious need to poll" is a little disingenuous unless Windows 10 is a truly single-user OS.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14, 2015 @03:31PM (#50318403)

      They said they'd used group policies to enact this change. If group security policies don't encompass the entirety of the OS, how could you ever be secure in the first place?

      Additionally, "Response Times" are not the king for people who *do not want this*.

      • This depends. Did they set the policies in User or Computer? If it is User, it is not the entire computer but the currently logged in User.

    • Are Live tiles pinned to your start bar completely independent of user, or do different users have different settings for that?

      If the machine has only one user and that user has turned it off, there's no legitimate reason to be pulling it down. Of course, this is Microsoft we're discussing, so the question of legitimacy is moot; they're going to do whatever they want and ignore your settings.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by macs4all ( 973270 )

      Are Live tiles pinned to your start bar completely independent of user, or do different users have different settings for that? Response times and reactivity are king. Making sure the data is already there when a different user logs on, or when you go to the page to see what's available, is a thing.

      Not saying there shouldn't be an easy way to really turn it off, but "no obvious need to poll" is a little disingenuous unless Windows 10 is a truly single-user OS.

      Windows 10 (a/k/a NT v?) is actually a server-class multiuser OS, that has been hamstrung by greedy Microsoft Policy into behaving like a one-user-at-a-time OS.

      Sad, actually.

      Unlike OS X, which, while also acting sort of like a one-user-at-a-time OS, at least lets you spawn additional simultaneous User Sessions via Remote, if you wish. And even when it is acting like a one-user-at-a-time OS, I believe that the other Users' sessions are kept alive and logged-in, which I'm not sure is the case with Windows

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Windows 10 is clearly not a single user computer but straight up a part of a marketing botnet https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] on every computer which has it installed. You watch MS brag about growth in Bing hits and demand more money from advertisers, every Google search on windows 10 looks to trigger a corresponding Bing search without the user knowing, watch M$'s search market share grow, without end users ever requesting it or seeing any of the results. Once a windows 10 computer is plugged into the i

      • can M$ selectively kill any windows 10 computer remotely

        As Win 10 is an 'in progress' project M$ can acquire that kind of power (if it does not already have it) and toggle the 'kill' switch any time it wants.

        Win 10 is becoming the largest security threat there ever is.

        Because of that I have decided to not upgrade any of my company's computers (which run Windoze) to Win 10. All the computers that are needed to be retired will be replaced with computers running any OS other than Win 10.

  • Explanation please (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14, 2015 @03:30PM (#50318393)

    Windows 10 Still Phones Home With Data In Spite of Privacy Settings

    What the hell, Microsoft?

  • by Megaweapon ( 25185 ) on Friday August 14, 2015 @03:31PM (#50318409) Homepage

    And block that crap at the router.

    Or will Win10 cease to function at that point?

    • by savuporo ( 658486 ) on Friday August 14, 2015 @04:01PM (#50318647)

      OpenWRT builds should soon come with "none of this telemetry shit" big red switch on the frontpage. And not just Msft, but apple, oracle, etc included. And then, i want OpenWRT built into a usb-ethernet dongle that i can take with me to travel.

    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      You are wedged so firmly on their Johnson that you have finally realized you need a full fledged auto-updating APPLICATION FIREWALL sitting between your computer and the internet just to stop junk from getting out to Microsoft, and you are like SEEMS REASONABLE BRO. Give me a fucking break!

      Riot or use Linux. Don't pretend you can keep up with Patch Tuesday, which will change what settings you need to protect yourself constantly. You are literally and finally at the point where you need a whole BSD or rea

  • Privacy is dead. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14, 2015 @03:34PM (#50318427)

    This battle is lost. No amount of litigation or hacking will change that.

    We would be wise to keep our efforts focused on freedom on the electronic frontier. Keep it legal to do all the things we want to do, because we will not be able to do them in secret.

    It isn't the happiest of realities, but it is still reality.

    • No biggie. Let's just pry into their books in return. Let's make this a two way street, and see what pops.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The battle is not lost.

      They don't know me. They have no means of verifying what I tell them. And I do know them, and I know that they'll try and try and try to find a way to make my usage profitable. The only question is, "How can I use their greedy nature to benefit me?"

      First, I need to know what benefit I want. If it's privacy I want, then nothing works better against a myopic panopticon than a disguise of misinformation. We already know they can "see" my usage and other statistics. But they can't verify.

    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      >This battle is lost.
      Install Linux, Problem Solved.

      >No amount of litigation or hacking will change that.
      I hear OSX doesn't do this, though you gotta fuck with settings. If Microsoft doesn't recant on this outright heresy, there will be a workaround for those that care and use Windoze, but it will be ugly.

      >We would be wise to keep our efforts focused on freedom on the electronic frontier.
      Install Linux, Problem Solved.

      > Keep it legal to do all the things we want to do, because we will not be able

    • Hacking free software continues to prove fruitful. In fact, some people use it and rely on it for their freedoms (such as Edward Snowden). But proprietary software is long known to be untrustworthy by default, no matter who the proprietor is or what excuse they (or their water carriers) have for denying users software freedom. So there's no gain to be had in a capitulation view. Privacy and other freedoms are worth fighting for and there's plenty of good to be had in the fight. Some of those fights take the

    • This battle is lost. No amount of litigation or hacking will change that.

      Hmm, the battle would appear to be a lot more lost for those joined at the hip and face to the Microsoft ecosystem. From where I sit with my Linux desktop, the battle would appear to be far from lost.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Now this http://store.steampowered.com/... [steampowered.com] makes a whole lot more sense. Obviously Steam paid attention to the most important thing about windows, the only binding power computer users to windows was high end games and power users will never ever accept privacy invasive practices on a desktop. Mobile phone invasiveness causes grumbles but hey you can always use you desktop or notebook instead for secure oh wait, FUCK YOU MICROSOFT ;D. So Linux for the internet and work and Steam for gaming, so how long bef

    • This battle is lost. No amount of litigation or hacking will change that.

      Lost sales will.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14, 2015 @03:34PM (#50318433)

    Same as the old Microsoft.

  • Haven't we see a post like this ever day since launch?
  • Group Policy explains if you try it on other editions it will act as if set to Basic.
    • by Blue Stone ( 582566 ) on Friday August 14, 2015 @04:43PM (#50318919) Homepage Journal

      Windows 8 was a fuck up because of the UI.

      It looks like Microsoft said, with 10, let's just go deeper and fuck up the user's privacy instead.

      The more I hear about 10, the less it looks like a saviour to Windows woes and the more it looks like an even bigger disaster.

      • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

        It is hands down the biggest disaster in computing history. The interesting part is how Enterprise will, eventually, not have any of these spyware bugs, so the challenge for the die hard win-heads will be to pirate and use Enterprise. I'm not really sure if it counts as piracy- you're really just looking for the patch set of the OS you are buying (Pro) that doesn't upload every little thing you do to Microsoft, and since the only entities with privacy rights are corporations, you have to use the stuff mea

  • It's good these posts come out, but having worked with it, it's probably just a case of some calls that didn't check for the telemetry lockdown registry key. Say what you will, but it's not likely they have a secret cabal going to collect which live tiles you resized to "large" or unpinned. There's enough of us that either ride with defaults or are actually OK with them learning how to make a better OS based on how we use it. Given how rushed it was on the last few months fixing major issues, it doesn't sur
    • It's good these posts come out, but having worked with it, it's probably just a case of some calls that didn't check for the telemetry lockdown registry key.

      Oh, so it's just a case of them not having integration tests. That's not exactly comforting in an OS vendor.

    • Stupidity is no excuse for doing bad things.

      Which is to say, this stuff should be fail closed, not fail open.

    • by cfalcon ( 779563 ) on Friday August 14, 2015 @06:46PM (#50319605)

      No. It's not PEBKAC. Go fucking research. To stop Windows from talking, you need several privacy toggles, some of which won't toggle all the way. Then you need a registry workaround, because Windows is so about user friendliness that you need to modify DWORDS in their shitted up binary fuckfest. Then you need to disable like three services, and remove two binaries. Then you need a big hosts file, and that's becoming an issue because Windows will actually work around a hosts file in some cases, using a list of known IPs specifically to circumvent that. So for now, you can block them on your external firewall.

      Eventually, you'll need a dedicated Application Firewall to block all that plus the mandatory Windows Update- you obviously don't want to allow Windows Update unless and until the Application Firewall has updated rules, because we can assume Microsoft will sidestep them weekly if allowed to. The advantage of that approach is that Microsoft can't beat it- it's not on their computer- and further, that you can eventually deep packet inspect and sanitize, allowing the use of Cortana with just the information YOU want to share with her.

      Again, really, we need to get off Microcock. This level of drama- needing a second computer to use your first computer- is absolutely insane. But for those that want all those lesser applications that only have Windows support, this will be the option.

    • It's good these posts come out, but having worked with it, it's probably just a case of some calls that didn't check for the telemetry lockdown registry key. Say what you will, but it's not likely they have a secret cabal going to collect which live tiles you resized to "large" or unpinned. There's enough of us that either ride with defaults or are actually OK with them learning how to make a better OS based on how we use it. Given how rushed it was on the last few months fixing major issues, it doesn't surprise me that a few things slipped through.

      One thing having always bugged me about this line of thinking is the quantity of traffic and number of systems out there that would all be generating these requests is simply enormous... must be one hell of a noise floor to go unnoticed.

    • Even if they are not of evil intent here, they still have broken design goals. Pre-caching stuff like this is always wrong if there is no option to disable. Always. There is no excuse for this, not even Microsoft's disingenuous standard response "it's for a better user experience." It slows down the computer slightly so that you can get a ridiculously stupid feature to work slightly faster. They're still stuck on the idea that silly phone apps on a computer are a good idea. I don't turn on my computer

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Friday August 14, 2015 @03:54PM (#50318593)
    I've recently been trying to shut down Microsoft's gathering of telemetry from my Windows 7 PC. I am seeing the performance-draining results of this telemetry gathering process [infoworld.com].

    .
    When I start up my PC in the morning, the hard drive just grinds away for about 5 or 10 minutes, and the CPU is sluggish. At first I thought it was an A/V scan, so I removed my A/V. No effect.

    Then I stumbled upon the InfoWorld article, and removed the Windows Updates that were mentioned in the article. The scanning stopped. Until I did a Windows Update earlier this week. And I had to remove once again the offending updates.

    What in the world is going on in Redmond?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      save you a few minutes
      wusa /uninstall /kb:2952664 /quiet /norestart
      wusa /uninstall /kb:2990214 /quiet /norestart
      wusa /uninstall /kb:3035583 /quiet /norestart

    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      > What in the world is going on in Redmond?

      Frankly I have no idea. This OS is absolutely bat shit insane.

    • Friend, I'll tell you what's 'going on in Redmond': The same thing that goes on at Facebook, and countless other companies these days: You are the product they're selling, and you're paying for the 'privilege' of being such by buying Windows 10. They're collecting data from your computer whether you like it or not, and selling that data to someone else.
  • Influence from Skype (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xeno ( 2667 ) on Friday August 14, 2015 @03:55PM (#50318599)

    It is interesting to see not only the technical influence, but the design philosophy inherited from the Skype acquisition: That is, from the perspective of a running service, it's perfectly ok or even desirable to worm your way out and communicate with the hivemind, no matter what the user says. For example, if the user configures the app not to communicate with a voip service, the app will respect the exact letter of the user's intent -- not to make voip calls or display presence -- but it will still update itself, download patches, and update directory data so that you *could* make voip calls if you changed your mind... which it will assume you did at the next update when the settings are reset to default-open...

    Opting out entirely is within reach for most people/orgs, it's the momentum that keeps people choosing this crapware. I keep Windows around because I like Visio, but my company does everything else in Google services, so my main machine for actual work has been Linux Mint for several years. The kids have Windows tablets but never use them; they just use pocketable android for comm and big iron for gaming/steam/AV/dev. It's not even worth much effort to criticize msft, they're not going to stop doing stupid things, they don't offer an advantage at the consumer level anymore, and I just don't have the time for it.

    (Now, ask me as a security geek, do I like having windows event data along with netflow? Sure thing, but the infrastructure to get that is insanely costly to license and run. I just wouldn't build a company that way anymore.)

    • by drooling-dog ( 189103 ) on Friday August 14, 2015 @04:19PM (#50318769)

      ...it's the momentum that keeps people choosing this crapware.

      Unfortunately true. It causes most people a great deal of anxiety to acknowledge there's a problem and that there are things they can do to mitigate it, because that means they have to learn about those things, which they fear will be outside their experience and abilities. As long as they're in the same boat as their friends and family, they feel the safety of numbers and can ignore the issue. The FUD mantra against Linux has always been that you have to be an elite geek to install and use it; of course that's nonsense but people believe it. It creates a lot of fear and trepidation that they'll be in over their heads if they even try, and so they don't.

      • It's been about 10 months since I moved my wife's grandmother and my grandfather onto Linux Mint. Total tech support calls: 3 very short ones with minor questions related to Skype and Firefox.

        Unless you have a specific application need that only runs on Windows, there is zero reason for the average consumer to use it.

      • by yodleboy ( 982200 ) on Friday August 14, 2015 @06:22PM (#50319501)
        It's not FUD... Whatever the year of the Linux desktop people want you to believe, it's just not that easy for most people to switch. The skepticism you have "Windows 10 is free, what's the catch?", is the same thing I hear when I tell people about Ubuntu. "It's free, how could it possible be good if it's free?" Then you tell them that it will change the look and feel of a computer they've used for years. Then you have to admit that their Windows apps won't work. Then confess that they will have a much smaller selection of software available to them. yeah, sign me up right away, is not the response you should expect.

        Despite huge improvements, Linux desktop is still NOT for the average user. It's for the average user that has a knowledgeable friend to help them setup things, to install Windows apps under WINE when possible, to help them find replacement apps for all the things they use, and to help them get used to the quirks of Linux. I've got my mother in law's laptop running perfectly under Ubuntu and she loves it, but there's no way on earth she'd ever have done it herself, even if her future self could send a note back in time and tell her how much better it was.

        WE don't think it's that hard or intimidating because we play with this stuff all the time and tend to forget we've grown along with the Linux desktop and take a lot of acquired knowledge for granted.
        • A lot of people are still running Windows XP (and earlier) for much the same reason. It works as well as it ever did for them (not considering the security issues), they've acclimated to it, and who knows what may go wrong with an update? Will their old familiar apps still work, or will they have to shell out hundreds of $$ to update those too?

    • > It is interesting to see not only the technical influence, but the design philosophy inherited from the Skype acquisition:

      It's consistent with Skype: it was hardly unique to them. It's inherent in Microsoft's registration models, their "Trusted Computing" encryption key architecture, and the very poor security of MS File Sharing itself. You _cannot_ use Powershell to administer your host if you block sharing your entire C: drive as the hidden share \\hostname\c$. A security model that says "to use admi

  • SHOCKED (Score:5, Funny)

    by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Friday August 14, 2015 @04:00PM (#50318639)

    Obligatory "I'm shocked, SHOCKED I TELL YOU!"

  • by koan ( 80826 ) on Friday August 14, 2015 @04:01PM (#50318641)

    Wasn't auto update, upgrade the give away clue?

    Watch as time goes by how much worse it gets, from broken apps (due to auto upgrades) to massive security fails.

  • You never have to go looking for Microsoft. Microsoft always knows where to find you.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Cool, thanks, just did an IP lookup on it and got back 207.46.7.252. I just made a new outband rule in my firewall blocking all outbound traffic from all applications to 207.46.7.252. Hopefully that should solve the problem.
    It isn't that hard to do, I would like to see any other servers windows tries to contact that it dose not need to so I can block them too.

  • Thank you Linus, and all the other developers who gave the world an alternative. Think about what this would be like with no solid, open, computing platforms to stay clear of big money/brother.

  • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Saturday August 15, 2015 @12:07PM (#50322387)

    Thanks but no thanks, Microsoft.

    I'll stick with Win 7 until my PC dies, and after that I'll probably switch to Linux.

    Win 7 works fine for me, and Win 8 and Win 10 do not appear to offer me ANYTHING useful whatsoever.

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