Reg comments96

Windows 10 needs proper privacy portal, says EFF

Slams 'questionable tactics to cause users to download software many didn’t want'

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has called on Microsoft to offer a “single unified screen” on which Windows 10 users can control how Windows 10 deals with their personal information and monitors their use of the OS.

The organisation has listed the long list of nasty nagware tactics Microsoft used to get people running Windows 10, labelling some “questionable tactics to cause users to download a piece of software that many didn’t want.”

It's not keen on the nagware bundled alongside patches, suggesting that tactic reduced trust in patches and therefore potentially exposed users who don't act promptly when important fixes arrive.

It also rails against the telemetry Windows 10 collects and is especially harsh on Microsoft's insistence that if business users send it less data, Windows Update will be less effective and PCs will be less secure.

The Foundation says “this is a false choice that is entirely of Microsoft’s own creation.”

“There’s no good reason why the types of data Microsoft collects at each telemetry level couldn’t be adjusted so that even at the lowest level of telemetry collection, users could still benefit from Windows Update and secure their machines from vulnerabilities, without having to send back things like app usage data or unique Ids like an IMEI number.”

The Foundation's answer is for Microsoft to “... come clean with its user community.”

“The company needs to acknowledge its missteps and offer real, meaningful opt-outs to the users who want them, preferably in a single unified screen. It also needs to be straightforward in separating security updates from operating system upgrades going forward, and not try to bypass user choice and privacy expectations.”

Microsoft doubtless thinks it is already offering meaningful opt-outs.

And perhaps the EFF needs to be careful what it wishes for: Facebook already offers a “single unified screen” to manage privacy settings. And in your correspondent's experience it is a masterpiece of doublespeak that leaves me even more confused about how The Zuck Squad is turning my posts into cash. ®

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