EU’s privacy watchdog, Article 29 Working Party, flags Microsoft’s Win 10 for potential privacy violations

It would appear that Microsoft has made cosmetic changes to its default installation process of Windows 10. The fact that Windows 10 phones home with user specific data, which Microsoft process for various purposes, is a privacy concern for most users.

The data protection watchdogs of the European Union have disclosed today that concerns related to Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system are still very much alive despite Microsoft’s announcement of changes to the operating system’s installation process.

In 2016, EU’s data protection watchdogs wrote to Microsoft citing increased concerns of the default settings during the installation process of Windows 10 and the lack of control over the user’s data that Windows sends over to the company for processing.

The group, referred to as the Article 29 Working Party, had asked for more clarity on the kind of information Windows sends to Microsoft for processing, which includes data for advertisement purposes.

“In light of the above, which are separate to the results of ongoing inquiries at a national level, even considering the proposed changes to Windows 10, the Working Party remains concerned about the level of protection of users’ personal data,” said the group in a statement while acknowledging Microsoft’s willingness to cooperate.

When asked to respond to requests for comments, Microsoft was not immediately available for comment.

Already a number of national authorities, including France, have begun enquiries against Microsoft’s Windows 10. In July 2016, France had ordered Microsoft to stop collecting excessive user data.

As per EU’s Article 29 Working Party, in spite of Microsoft making changes to its installation process, it isn’t nearly enough, since to what extent Microsoft collects user specific data is still unclear.

“Microsoft should clearly explain what kinds of personal data are processed for what purposes. Without such information, consent cannot be informed, and therefore, not valid,” said EU’s Article 29 Working Party.


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