Microsoft is once again being criticised for the way in which Windows 10 collects data on its users, amid fresh accusations that the latest version of its operating system violates privacy.
In a scathing post on its blog, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has said that Microsoft makes users “choose between having privacy and security” with regards to how it handles their data and calls on the tech giant to “come clean with its user community”.
“Windows 10 sends an unprecedented amount of usage data back to Microsoft,” writes Amul Kalia from EFF, who notes that by enabling Cortana users are increasing the the amount of data sent to Microsoft.
Concerns have been raised in the past about the amount of data Microsoft is able to glean from Windows 10 users.
Privacy advocates have claimed that Windows 10 send back such data as location, internet search history, voice input, touch input and even everything you type on the keyboard, as well as other telemetry data.
“While users can disable some of these settings, it is not a guarantee that your computer will stop talking to Microsoft’s servers,” says Kalia.
The EFF also criticises Microsoft for failing to explain what it uses any of this data for or how long the data is retained.
While Windows 10 privacy and the way in which Microsoft obtains telemetry data is a concern, the company is further criticised for the lack of choice it gives users who opt out of handing over their data.
“Microsoft has tried to explain this lack of choice by saying that Windows Update won’t function properly on copies of the operating system with telemetry reporting turned to its lowest level,” adds Kalia.
“Microsoft is claiming that giving ordinary users more privacy by letting them turn telemetry reporting down to its lowest level would risk their security since they would no longer get security updates.”
The EFF was highly critical of the aggressive tactics used by Microsoft to get people to upgrade to Windows 10.
“The tactics Microsoft employed to get users of earlier versions of Windows to upgrade to Windows 10 went from annoying to downright malicious”.
It was these same tactics that prompted a backlash from angry Windows 7 and 8.1 users, some of whom felt they had been duped into upgrading and resulted in one woman being awarded $10,000 in compensation.
Earlier this week, millions of users discovered they were no longer able to use their webcams after installing the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, with Microsoft not set to release a patch for the problem until September.