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Dutch Privacy Watchdog Accuses Microsoft

Windows 10 has come into the spotlight once again, as a Dutch privacy watchdog that goes by the name of Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens has accused Microsoft of violating user privacy.

The software titan, for its part, has quickly responded to these allegations, denying most of them.

Basically, the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) has come to the conclusion that Redmond continuously collects information about the apps usage and web surfing behavior of the users of its latest operating system when they use the default settings.

In other words, the company is playing it dirty by enabling the full telemetry setting by default when Windows 10 is installed:

“If a person does not actively change the default settings during installation, it does not mean he or she thereby gives consent for the use of his or her personal data.”

The Dutch DPA also accused Microsoft of ignoring the privacy settings of users when upgrading computers to the Creators Update. That’s because computers that were previously set to send basic telemetry were automatically switched to full telemetry level, if the user made no changes.

Sneaky stuff, to put it mildly.

In addition to this, Wilbert Tomesen, the vice chairman of the Dutch DPA, claims that the amount of data Microsoft collects is because the company wants to keep an eye on everything a user is doing on their Windows 10 computers:

“It turns out that Microsoft’s operating system follows about every step you take on your computer. That results in an intrusive profile of yourself. What does that mean? Do people know about this, do they want this? Microsoft needs to give users a fair opportunity to decide about this themselves.”

Point.

Anyway, Redmond quickly responded to this by publishing a public response to the DPA claims, explaining that while it is open to talks and collaborate with the privacy watchdogs, some of arguments made in the claim are not exactly accurate.

You can go through this fact sheet (PDF file) that Microsoft has made available, in which the company tries to explain that Windows 10 does not, in fact, infringe on user privacy.

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