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Windows 10 Users to Get Improved Privacy Controls

The upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will bring enhanced privacy controls to both consumers and commercial customers, Microsoft says.

The upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will bring enhanced privacy controls to both consumers and commercial customers, Microsoft says.

After being heavily criticized for the large amount of user data collected from Windows 10 machines, Microsoft has decided to implement a series of data protections to silence concerns, and has been successful in its attempt.

Released earlier this year, the Windows 10 Creators Update provided users with increased control over privacy settings and updates, and also allowed them to choose how much usage data they like to share with Microsoft. In July, the company announced that it would force users into reviewing their privacy settings and installing the latest feature update, namely Windows 10 Creators Update.

In addition, Microsoft also improved transparency on the diagnostic data collected from Windows 10 machines. Now, the company is looking into providing users with increased access to information and more control over the collected information, Marisa Rogers, Windows and Devices Group Privacy Officer, reveals.

Consumers will enjoy simplified access to information about features and the data collection around those features, courtesy of two privacy changes made to the setup process.

Starting with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, set to arrive on October 17, users have direct access to the Privacy Statement within the setup process and can also use the Learn More page on the privacy settings screen to jump to specific settings for location, speech recognition, diagnostics, tailored experiences, and ads while choosing their privacy settings.

“You no longer need to sift through the privacy statement if you only want to read about a specific feature, simply click the Learn More button for easy access,” Rogers explained in a blog post.

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Moreover, users will also have increased transparency and control over which applications can access their information. Similar to permission prompts for the use of location data when launching a map or other location-aware applications, permission requests will pop up when applications installed through the Windows Store will need access to various device capabilities.

“You will be prompted to provide permission before an app can access key device capabilities or information such as your camera, microphone, contacts, and calendar, among others. This way you can choose which apps can access information from specific features on your device,” Rogers explains.

The app permission prompts will only appear for apps installed after the Fall Creators Update. However, users will be able to review and manage existing app permissions by selecting Start > Settings > Privacy.

In addition to these changes, enterprise customers will also have access to a new setting that limits diagnostic data to the minimum required for Windows Analytics, a service that allows admins to decrease IT costs by gaining insights – through Windows Diagnostics – into the computers running Windows 10 in their organizations.

Related: Microsoft Forces Users to Review Windows 10 Privacy Settings

Related: French Regulator Accepts Microsoft’s Data Protection Improvements to Windows 10

Related: Microsoft Details Data Collection in Windows 10 Creators Update

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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