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Microsoft Privacy

Microsoft Removes Wi-Fi Sense Feature From Windows 10 Which Shared Your Wi-Fi Password 190

Microsoft says it has removed the controversial Wi-Fi Sense feature that shared a user's password with their friends and people in the contact list. "We have removed the Wi-Fi Sense feature that allows you to share Wi-Fi networks with your contacts and to be automatically connected to networks shared by your contacts," says Microsoft's Gabe Aul. "The cost of updating the code to keep this feature working combined with low usage and low demand made this not worth further investment." Ben Woods, writing for The Next Web: The feature allows you to share Wi-Fi login information with friends automatically via your contacts, however it got a controversial reception due to privacy implications. Do you really want to share your Wi-Fi codes with everyone in your contacts? No, of course not. It seems that was the general response from users too, so that option will be removed in the upcoming Windows 10 Insider Preview update, Microsoft says. Public Wi-Fi login info will remain in the app though.
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Microsoft Removes Wi-Fi Sense Feature From Windows 10 Which Shared Your Wi-Fi Password

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  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2016 @12:05PM (#52091911) Journal
    How about removing all the so-called 'telemetry' and other privacy-invading malware bullshit and return control of peoples' computers to the people who own and operate them? Or will not being assholes cut into your profit margin too much?
    • by art123 ( 309756 )

      It was the telemetry that told them this future was not used much hence the reason for it being removed.

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      Brought to you by the makers of the email and document virus.

    • And how about removing the lovely feature I discovered last night. I needed to make a few simple calculations, so I launched calc.exe and was typing away. I looked up and it had ignored my last several keystrokes and Windows was displaying a screen asking me to complete a survey on how satisfied I was with calc.exe. I shit you not.
      • by wbo ( 1172247 )
        Are you sure you are running an actual RTM/release build and not a Insider or preview build? I have never seen such a survey prompt on any of my systems running the RTM release but I have seen it on my test system running an Insider build.

        Surveys in the Insider builds make perfect sense and are to be expected given that those builds are designed to gather feedback from users to be incorporated in future updates and are not supposed to be used on primary or production systems.
        • I don't think so. Pulled it down from the MSDN website about a month ago so it's possible I grabbed the wrong version, but it did make me enter my Win 10 Enterprise key, and the Insider Build looks like it doesn't require one at all.
    • How about removing all the so-called 'telemetry' and other privacy-invading malware bullshit and return control of peoples' computers to the people who own and operate them? Or will not being assholes cut into your profit margin too much?

      Telemetry would be fine if we could trust that it was completely non-identifying . Telemetry is how they knew almost no one was using this "feature" after all.
      I don't trust them to not make use of identifying stuff and / or using and selling the info to advertisers though. Anything more than "this feature is being used, and that one isn't" with no machine / personal identification is too much. I can understand wanting to know about how many OS installs there are and how many times each feature is e

    • by shugah ( 881805 )
      Windows 10 would be great, without all the crapware they bundle with it. I've used PowerShell and Group Policies to disable most of it, but you can't get rid of Cortona, Edge or (now) Bing Search.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, 2016 @12:06PM (#52091921)

    Now that Microsoft knows 90% of its users' wireless passwords, We have removed the Wi-Fi Sense feature

  • Translation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by GrumpySteen ( 1250194 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2016 @12:07PM (#52091929)

    Okay, fine. We'll remove this feature. But not because everyone flipped their shit and hated it. The only reason we're removing it is because it was cost effective to do so. If we could have found a way to profit off of it, you can bet your pimply ass that it would still be in there and on by default.

  • Option removed (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 )

    ... so that option will be removed in the upcoming Windows 10

    Of course, we'll keep *collecting* that information ... 'cause it's Windows 10, which is all about data collection. /cynical

  • Honestly, I thought this was a very useful feature for small businesses that had wifi with a simple password.

    I noticed quite a few friends had the same idea as me, because I would go into a new coffee shop and my laptop could connect right away because one of my friends already checked the wifi sense box.

    Now, I know no one that did this on their home network. However, for networks like a coffee shop or hotel, it is great.

    • by stooo ( 2202012 )

      These wifi should not have a password in the first place if the intent is to have anybody connecting.

      • The intent is that you need to go ask someone at the store what the wifi password is, or find it on a menu.

        I agree, it is stupid, but it still exists, and the wifi sense feature made it less of a hassle.

    • Bad idea. How do you know this coffee shop is safe? Only because your friend was naive enough to trust it? The one place you should never trust anything is in a coffee shop, how do you know it's not someone sitting at another table pretending to be the coffee shop? Extremely bad idea.

      • What are you going on about? Safe Internet? What's that?

        I don't trust password-protected wireless any more than I trust open wireless, or my Comcast connection.

        Anything I do over the Internet that needs any sort of security is going over AES-256 encryption. The encryption of wireless is only somewhat useful to make sure people don't use wireless they shouldn't have access to.

  • Wifi-CommonSense (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cloud.pt ( 3412475 )
    Subject says it all. Somebody didn't think the least bit about the implications of generally sharing private passwords.
  • by LichtSpektren ( 4201985 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2016 @12:37PM (#52092195)
    I'm sorry, but what if (that's a big "IF" there but bear with me) I bought Windows 10 because I *wanted* this particular feature? Microsoft is just going to "update" it out anyway?

    I understand Windows 10 is more of a rolling release than previous versions were, but this is insane. Are they going to "update" out things that I bought from the Windows Store because they weren't terribly popular as well? Imagine if you took your car in for maintenance and they took out your parking camera because nobody used it....
    • This has liability and security issues and Facebook friends / email contacts is way to broad.

      • If I was using a free-as-in-speech OS, I could take it out myself if I judged it to be a liability. Or at least turn it off. But explain to me how it can be just that Microsoft advertises a certain feature to be in Windows 10, delivers it, and then takes it away after millions of people have paid for it?
        • by sconeu ( 64226 )

          They learned it from Sony. Please see "Other OS" on the PS3.

          • by PRMan ( 959735 )
            So...we're just waiting for GeoHot to put Wifi Sense back and then for Microsoft to accuse him of criminal activity and then for Microsoft to get hacked non-stop for the next 5 years?
    • by MobyDisk ( 75490 )

      Microsoft issued patch MS16-928167 which patched vulnerability CVE-2016-989374 which would allow a remote attacker to obtain administrator...

      I *used* that vulneratibility! Can Microsoft just "update" it out? I was pulling in 5 bitcoins a week with that one! Can microsoft just remove that because it was seen as a so-called "security" problem? Clearly it was very popular judging from then number of people who paid for me to decrypt their files.

      (jk)

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Welcome to Software as a Service (SAS). You didn't buy Windows 10, you paid to grant Microsoft a licence to fuck with your computer whenever they feel like it in exchange for whatever services they see fit to hand down.

  • Get's them out of liability issues with that.

  • Get it? No Sense. Nevermind...
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2016 @01:52PM (#52092925)

    Who would have thought that there is low demand for a "feature" that broadcasts your passwords to others?

    Hey, MS, allow me to let you in on a secret: There's also really low demand for the thousand "apps" that nobody needs, can't be uninstalled and take up unnecessary space on the drive and the start menu (where you ALSO cannot get rid of them), and there is really low demand for updates we can't turn off.

    Maybe you could discover this great revelation next?

    • There's also really low demand for the thousand "apps" that nobody needs

      You don't know that, you don't have the hard data.

      Microsoft does...

      • You can actually name someone who really thinks it's a great idea that you cannot uninstall apps you don't need? Aside of the apps' maker, of course?

    • by PRMan ( 959735 )
      You can right-click those Start Menu tiles and remove them. I make mine look like Windows 7.
  • by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2016 @05:00PM (#52094309)

    The problem wasn't so much that you could share access to your network with your friends - it was that if you gave your WiFi password to someone (which what the majority of people do when they visit someone elses house) then you had to make sure that they didn't share access to your network with their friends.

    The problem is that Microsoft cannot differentiate between someone who has the WiFi password because they own the connection and someone who has the WiFi password because they were told it. Microsoft made the assumption that if you have the password, then you have the right to offer that connection to others - but this is not what happens in the "real world".

    Because of this incorrect assumption, the onus was suddenly placed on the owner of the WiFi (who does decide to provide their password) to police the entry of it into Windows 10 devices to ensure that a bunch of random people that they have never met aren't suddenly allowed to use their network.

    That was why it was an issue.

    • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

      Of course you could just go an change your SSID to end _optout which is what I did, but that was super annoying as every WiFi connected device needed updating.

      The problem with this is that most people didn't have a clue what was going on. I know my family members where not impressed at all with Microsoft when I explained why I was changing the SSID on all the hotspots. It was a universal WTF.

      The "tech" solution of course is to have a separate SSID for guests that can't access anything on your internal netwo

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The worst part is you can't opt out of allowing people to share the password. They tried to offer a way to do it, but adding "_optout" to the end of your SSID, but this conflicts with other opt outs like the Mozilla Location Services one which requires "_nomap".

  • Glad they stopped collecting WiFi Passwords. What will they do with the one already collected? Can we expect a leak soon so that we know what accounts need a password reset?

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