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Privacy Windows Microsoft Operating Systems Software

Dutch Privacy Regulator Says Windows 10 Breaks the Law (arstechnica.com) 63

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The lack of clear information about what Microsoft does with the data that Windows 10 collects prevents consumers from giving their informed consent, says the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA). As such, the regulator says that the operating system is breaking the law. To comply with the law, the DPA says that Microsoft needs to get valid user consent: this means the company must be clearer about what data is collected and how that data is processed. The regulator also complains that the Windows 10 Creators Update doesn't always respect previously chosen settings about data collection. In the Creators Update, Microsoft introduced new, clearer wording about the data collection -- though this language still wasn't explicit about what was collected and why -- and it forced everyone to re-assert their privacy choices through a new settings page. In some situations, though, that page defaulted to the standard Windows options rather than defaulting to the settings previously chosen. In the Creators Update, Microsoft also explicitly enumerated all the data collected in Windows 10's "Basic" telemetry setting. However, the company has not done so for the "Full" option, and the Full option remains the default. The DPA's complaint doesn't call for Microsoft to offer a complete opt out of the telemetry and data collection, instead focusing on ensuring that Windows 10 users know what the operating system and Microsoft are doing with their data. The regulator says that Microsoft wants to "end all violations," but if the software company fails to do so, it faces sanctions.
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Dutch Privacy Regulator Says Windows 10 Breaks the Law

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  • “There's only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures and the Dutch.”
  • Easy answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WolfgangVL ( 3494585 ) on Friday October 13, 2017 @07:03PM (#55365647)

    We are taking ALL OF THE DATA. Like in the deal.... the deal you agreed to by breathing and blinking twice while your eyes glazed over at the EULA.

    In the spirit of full disclosure, we feel we should also make you aware that we'll be rebooting your computer whenever its good for us, and you can trust that we will reset any user changed settings back to whatever we feel is best at that time when we do so.

    While we're at it, we are going to go ahead and remove a few features here and there, so that we can sell them back to you when you finally realize that you do indeed need them after all. But don't worry though, we will go ahead and leave the shell services and support files there so they can slowly but surely bog your system down to the point that you can only reset the system back to default and start the whole system over again.

    P.S. Thanks for all of that bandwidth we just used downloading that giant update that removes more features than it adds. Your welcome.

    Signed,

        Your friends at Microsoft, the NSA, and h1b1 "employees" everywhere.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Even if M$ ever had or ever does have the option to opt out of all data collection, how could anyone possibly believe them? After all, this is a company that if left in a room with the truth would cause a matter/antimatter explosion of epic proportions!! M$ has lied so much and used so many deceptive practices that trusting them is totally impossible!!!!

      • Microsoft already does provide the option. You can turn off most of the telemetry by disabling just one service in Services. Cortana can be turned off with a single simple regedit. The rest can pretty much be dealt with using the tool Microsoft already provides with the operating system e.g. the Privacy panel in Settings.

        And if you install the OS yourself, the installation routine enables you to turn off most of that stuff even before your first logon.
    • We are taking ALL OF THE DATA. Like in the deal.... the deal you agreed to by breathing and blinking twice while your eyes glazed over at the EULA.

      I've read the EULA from the first release of Win10. The way it read anybody you connected to (network) are free game for data mining (access anything connected to your computer). I'm now using Linux Mint with a dual boot of Win10 I am reluctant to use. If the EULA has changed it doesn't matter, it's the first one I'm going by.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      Dutch law isn't quite so... "corporate friendly" with regards to EULA's as the US.

  • Microsoft Say Dutch Regulator Breaks The Law by violating copyright by engaging in deep reverse engineering in violation of the license agreement.

    Two can fling that mud, buddy... 8p

  • by jbn-o ( 555068 ) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Friday October 13, 2017 @07:32PM (#55365785) Homepage

    This story only comes off as the Dutch looking out for Dutch Windows 10 users' interests if one accepts a mainstream media bias against critically examining the unethical power of proprietary software.

    "The lack of clear information about what Microsoft does with the data that Windows 10 collects prevents consumers from giving their informed consent" is true as far as it goes but hardly affects just Windows 10. This whole story hinges on that Microsoft got caught ignoring user's privacy preferences and releasing more information than the user said they wanted released. All proprietary software inherently fails to give such clear information and every time that software is altered the information collected or disseminated can change, making informed consent harder.

    Software freedom is needed to truly address the underlying concerns rightly raised by the Dutch government. Only with free software can users have any real chance to understand what published software does, verify programmer/distributor's claims about the software, ensure that the software complies by modifying the software, and help one's community by distributing the improved software.

    So looking out for the users' interests makes sense to do at a government level (apparently the so-called "free market" approach results in situations like what we face now) but structurally this simply cannot be done in an effective and thoroughgoing way with non-free (user-subjugating) software. Proprietors know this and this is partly why they release their software without respecting their user's software freedom.

  • by mutantSushi ( 950662 ) on Friday October 13, 2017 @07:44PM (#55365845)
    MS has already admitted their willingness to do this, that if US law and EU law are in conflict they will follow US law. Now if they wanted to, they could structure their business so there is no ability for US to influence things. If they wanted to they could structure their business so it no longer is primarily based out of the US at all. MS and similar companies use all sorts of shenanigans to evade national tax liability, but MS isn't willing to take equivalent steps to evade US jurisdiction over-reach. US tech is is undeniably in the pocket of the US state and intelligence apparatus, they have billion dollar deals flowing from that and are comfortable cooperating within US intelligence control regime. That's what they're loyal to, pure and simple.
    • by tsa ( 15680 )

      Which is a bit strange, because the EU is a much bigger market than the US. On the other hand, MS learned from their 'punishment' in the monopoly case that they can get away with anything in the US.

  • Blacklist microsoft.com, windowsupdate.com, live.com, and all subdomains of those three and your Windows 10 box won't send any telemetry back to Redmond or download any updates ever.
    • The only solution is to deny the machine internet. Thats where we are, if you plug into the internet, you have no control over your device anymore. The only escape is exile (which is the intended outcome)
      • No matter what operating system you use - even MS-DOS - will share information if you connect to the Internet. The very act of connecting requires the sharing of at least some information - protocol handshakes, MAC and IP addresses etc. and so on.

        Windows 10 Home is a self-updating OS - and probably should be as even Facebook Granny uses it - and of course it will supply enough information to patch the system and update drivers.

        Even with the Home version though, enthusiasts, power users and techies can
  • by MoarSauce123 ( 3641185 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @07:12AM (#55367435)
    It needs to be up to the user to send any data to Microsoft. If the user decides not to send anything then Win 10 ought to not send a bit. Simple as that. In order to get the data, Microsoft should offer an incentive.
    • You can't connect to the Internet without sharing information. The protocols require handshakes etc. etc. The very act of connecting is tacit consent for sharing at least some information. So if you do not connect it to the Internet, like every other operating system, Windows 10 shares nothing. If you do connect, like every other operating system (e.g. MS-DOS, macOS, Windows XP) data etc. will be shared. Now, it is a matter of how much.

      Everybody knows that Windows 10 Home is a self-updating OS. This requ
  • Windows 10 can be made private. If one buys Windows 10 pre-installed, the privacy settings will be as the computer's manufacturer decided they will be. That's not up to Microsoft.

    If you installed Windows 10 properly - i.e. you install it yourself - the installation routine enables you to turn just about everything off as you install it, and the rest can be managed via Privacy in Settings. Elsewise, turning off one just Service, make just one regedit and Windows 10 is as private as a self-updating Home/Co
    • No, only the corporate version permits actually disabling everything via settings and policy. Additional hackery is necessary otherwise. On what level is that acceptable?

      • That's right - the Home version - which even Facebook Grannie and ol' George Rubby use - auto-updates no question. They'd become bots otherwise. Regardless, the techie or enthusiast can configure Windows much more to liking. And if that isn't enough, there are versions of Windows which, as you say, enable the thing to be locked down or enable more granular control. But for the home and consumer use of the system, it is better that it isn't completely locked down from Microsoft.

        But even in the Home ver

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