Microsoft has received a fair amount of flak over the privacy settings in Windows 10, and the company has promised to provide more transparency around the data it collects in upcoming versions of the operating system.

Users can also opt out of some data collection features, but the process for doing so hasn’t always been as clear as it could be. So Microsoft is beginning to test a new set up process that makes it easier for users to see and understand their privacy options.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17115 is now rolling out to members of the Windows Insiders program, and users will be able to get an early look at the new privacy set up experience… or at least a possible version of it.

Microsoft is actually testing a few different options, including a single screen with toggles that let you enable or disable a bunch of different options, or seven individual screens that provide a little more information about what happens if each feature is enabled or disabled.

The settings you have control over include:

  • Speech recognition (allowing Cortana and other apps to send your voice data tot he cloud)
  • Find my Device (allowing Microsoft to track your location and help you find a missing device)
  • Inking & Typing (enabling language recognition and text suggestion, among other things)
  • Location (allowing weather, shopping, and other apps to automatically determine your location)
  • Diagnostic data (allowing your PC to send PC diagnostics, plus app, feature, and website data to Microsoft)
  • Tailored experiences (allowing Microsoft to use that data to recommend tips, offers, etc)

Don’t want to join the Insider program an go through the setup process? You can also just open the Start Menu on any Windows PC and type “privacy” to find the Privacy settings (or go to Start Menu -> Settings -> Privacy if you don’t feel like typing). You won’t see the new categories yet, but you will be able to disable some types of data collection you may or may not have known were enabled (or vice versa, I suppose).

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3 replies on “Windows Insiders can begin testing Windows 10’s new privacy settings layout”

  1. It will be interesting to see what the final looks like, what will and what won’t be available to turn off, will those settings change the next time there is an update.

  2. To comply with EU law, Windows is required to a) turn off all privacy violations (so that the default is minimally necessary privacy violations, that is, none, as required by the law), b) have one single button to initiate turning on some or all privacy violations before having to go into details (so as to have greatest clarity, as required by the law), c) have clear descriptions of all settings (so as to have greatest clarity, as required by the law).

    As a counter-example for (c), “Don’t use my data to help improve…” is unclear and ambiguous and ought to be “Do not send Microsoft any inking and typing data…”.

    The first, central setting ought to be: ”
    – Privacy (Default)
    – Only allow Windows updates
    – Violate Privacy”

  3. If security was paramount, all functions would be disabled, unless the user opts-in to them.

    That’s why Windows will never be anything more than a toy operating system, because even when it’s marketed as a server, it probably has as many holes as a colander.

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