No, Microsoft is not spying on you with Windows 10

By Technician ยท 35 replies
Feb 16, 2016
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  1. No, Microsoft is not spying on you with Windows 10
    The Windows 10 privacy agreement doesn't mean Microsoft is secretly stealing the data from your hard disk. Where do people come up with these crazy ideas?

    By Ed Bott for The Ed Bott Report | August 27, 2015 -- 20:41 GMT (13:41 PDT) | Topic: Windows 10

    Buy tinfoil futures.

    I'm dead serious. There is apparently a growing and very vocal population of people who believe that Windows 10 is basically a 1984 telescreen come to life. They are convinced that with Windows 10 Microsoft has built a spying apparatus not seen since the height of the Cold War, scraping up every detail of your life and feeding it back to Redmond for who knows what nefarious purposes.

    They're going to need lots of tinfoil.

    They're also either wildly misinformed or deliberately agitating. Unless, of course, they're just crazy, which is entirely possible based on some of what I've read.

    But most importantly, they are wrong, terribly wrong. And they're being whipped into a frenzy, or at least passively aided by the tech press. That group unfortunately includes ZDNet, which earlier this week
    unquestioningly repeated this incendiary allegation, posted on Reddit by someone who claims to be affiliated with an obscure torrent tracker, iTS:

    Microsoft decided to revoke any kind of data protection and submit whatever they can gather to not only themselves but also others. One of those is one of the largest anti-piracy company [sic] called MarkMonitor. Amongst other things Windows 10 sends the contents of your local disks directly to one of their servers.
    That's not true. It's wildly at odds with the facts, even. I keep tabs on a handful of well-established torrent sites, orders of magnitude larger than the ones complaining here, and none of them seem to have a problem with Windows 10.

    There's literally no basis for that statement in fact. And yet you read it here. And on dozens of other sites, unfortunately, where a single lie gets repeated often enough to seep into the collective unconscious.

    The bizarre belief that Windows 10 is a spying tool keeps popping up among conspiracy theorists. Via email, a reader sent me a link to this rant by an alternative medical practitioner who apparently is also an expert on the law and IT:

    Windows 10's new license agreement ... gives Microsoft permission to Hoover up every particle of data on a doctor's hard drive. This will include any confidential patient-doctor emails that are stored there, any reports, any bills, and any short notes to staff through intra-network messaging (for example: "Spoke to Tom, my patient today re gender dysphoria and desire to transition to female. Pls follow up with referral.")

    No, it doesn't, doc. Here, take a sip of this calming tea and let's talk, OK? And let's get that torrent dude in here, too, because he needs someone to explain what's really going on.

    Both of these poor benighted souls and a bunch of other people just like them base their belief on a paragraph from Microsoft's new, unified privacy policy. The clause lists the conditions under which Microsoft "will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders)..."

    That narrow list of conditions includes legal demands, like search warrants and subpoenas and (presumably) National Security Letters, as well as actions necessary to "help prevent the loss of life or serious injury of anyone" or to stop attacks on Microsoft's services.

    And those terms only apply to content stored online using Microsoft's services. Here's the earlier part of that agreement, the one that defines the content covered by that clause. This section of the agreement is apparently blocked by tinfoil and invisible to the Microsoft-is-spying brigade:

    We collect content of your files and communications when necessary to provide you with the services you use. This includes: the content of your documents, photos, music or video you upload to a Microsoft service such as OneDrive. It also includes the content of your communications sent or received using Microsoft services...

    So yes, if you send and receive email using Microsoft's consumer services or store files in OneDrive, there's a risk that a court could issue Microsoft a subpoena compelling them to hand over that information. (Pro tip: Microsoft offers Office 365 for Health, which provides cloud services and HIPAA compliance for medical professionals who care about that sort of thing.)

    But there's no risk that Microsoft is gathering the contents of your local hard disk and sending it to anyone. Zero.

    Microsoft is under a microscope, constantly, with its every move examined by security experts and privacy advocates. Windows 10 has been available in preview versions for nearly 10 months and in a final version for roughly six weeks, since build 10240 was released in mid-July.

    You'd think if those 75 million hard drives were being scoured someone might have noticed. But so far, no word from anyone who actually knows how to use a network analyzer. Because it's not happening.

    In fact, the specific terms that the good doctor was complaining about are completely unremarkable. Any company that offers modern computing services has nearly identical language in its privacy agreement. Compare these snippets from the Google, Apple, and Microsoft privacy statements:

    It is certainly true that Windows 10 relies on online services to a much greater degree than previous Windows releases. That's the way of the world, especially one in which a billion people carry around devices that literally track their every movement around the world and report them to global telecommunication companies.

    We expect personalized services. We expect relevant search results. We expect the devices we use daily to get smarter and more useful over time. We expect them to understand us despite our accents when we use speech-enabled features. We expect bugs in software and services to be fixed yesterday.

    All of those goals require that customers willingly share information with the companies providing those services, with a corresponding commitment from the recipient of that data to guard it carefully and use it only for its intended purposes.

    After carefully reading the Microsoft Services Agreement, the Windows license agreement (English, retail), and the Microsoft Privacy Statement carefully, I don't see anything that looks remotely like Big Brother.

    I'm also not hearing a single peep of complaints from people who actually set up and run business networks, because they understand how utterly normal those privacy terms are in 2015.

    If you're running a small doctor's office and are subject to HIPAA governance, I hope you're not buying consumer PCs from Walmart and plugging them into your office network and just hoping for the best. I also hope you're not relying on some angry chiropractor to tell you how to set up your network. Any business that cares about security, either because they're run by good people or because they're mandated to do so by law, should have an IT pro setting up their communication systems and their infrastructure.

    If you don't understand that, I'm not sure even tinfoil can help.

    Though this is old, it is still relevant. OK, foilers, 3, 2, 1, go!
  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,713   +3,691

    There would be no need in data collection, if MS had no need in spying. They do need data collection, which is why they spy. There is no question as to whether they are spying. The question is how much are they collecting. If we ever needed transparency, this is where we need full-transparency.
    Cobalt006 likes this.
  3. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Topic Starter Posts: 677   +114

    Here's those privacy policies, this site didn't like .png files

  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,966   +2,524

    @Technician Do you work for M$, or are you on a solo mission to annoy the crap out of every one.

    Basically all that s*** you just published says, "as long as we have an excuse, or can somehow justify it, we'll take whatever we like".

    And in the future, just disseminate the propaganda using damned old common jpegs.
    Cobalt006 likes this.
  5. HiImTim

    HiImTim TS Enthusiast Posts: 36   +10

    I guess that depends on how you define "spying"
  6. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Topic Starter Posts: 677   +114

    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,966   +2,524

    Well, the software used to operate this forum has been reconfigured with respect to available user interface functions etc, over the course of its operation.

    I as a user, choose to play the cards as they are dealt. Since the preponderance of available net photos are .jpg anyway, these are what I use. Some other type of files and coding can't be used to post either. (IIRC, since I only post .jpg photo, standard web links, or YouTube video, I can't be certain).

    If you have just cause and can explain why only .png files can be specifically used for your posting, I suggest you take it up with staff at "Site Feedback & Suggestions". You can make your case over there:
  8. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Topic Starter Posts: 677   +114

    You didn't see that I had converted it to a .jpg file and commented the original that was on the internet that I linked to was a .png but the site didn't like a .png file?
    I didn't put the .png on the net, I just tried to link the picture here. See? Here is the original article, complete with .png graphic in case you still think I made this all up just to "annoy the crap" out of you.
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,966   +2,524

    For whatever reason, I can only be my "crankytroll" (courtesy Squid), self.

    But yes, I did notice that you did put it up in .jpg. If I read the post correctly, you were irritated, (or complaining), you couldn't use .png. You're the first person I've heard complaining about it. I'm assuming the other Luddites here, along with myself, simply use the ubiquitous .jpg files to put up pictures. I'm complaining about your complaining. It's not a big deal though, at least for me.

    So again I'm telling you, if you want to use png files, but can't, you need to take it up with staff
  10. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    [​IMG] Thought maybe you all would like to see the most beautiful car in the history of the auto mobile.... enjoy
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2016
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,966   +2,524

    Are we being somehow ironic by posting the same .jpeg picture 3 times?
  12. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    No, just a mistake, the first two didn't appear as links.... fixed.



    thF1C3VRW5. or these...2000Hp, 0-60 1.28 sec
    got wood?
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2016
  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,966   +2,524

  14. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Topic Starter Posts: 677   +114

    Not everything is a complaint, especially if the posters name doesn't have the word cranky in it. My comment was an observation, plain and simple.
    And again, I'm telling you I didn't want to use a .PNG file, someone else did and I linked to it. If you don't like it, you'll have to take it up with the person that uploaded it.
  15. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    cw 500.JPG

  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,966   +2,524

    That's just self serving bulls*** to argue with me. And I don't have to take it up with anybody. Your thread, your problem.

    If you don't like the way I claimed you complained about not being able to use .png files, so be it. I can assure you there will be no retraction coming from this desk.

    You started the thread to ram your opinion down everybody's throat to make your point that you consider M$' newly extended scope of telemetry is, "harmless".

    Any and all of that notwithstanding, this a technical issue, not one remotely related to dueling opinions.

    Please ** **** ********, then follow this link:
  17. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Topic Starter Posts: 677   +114

    It's not sinking in is it? I don't want to post a png file.
  18. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,966   +2,524

    Its not sinking in with you either, is it? .....You're not the only member in this forum......
  19. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Topic Starter Posts: 677   +114

  20. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Topic Starter Posts: 677   +114

    If these comments are not directed to me, then why are you making your helpful statements to all members as a reply to me?
    Why not start your own thread of helpful suggestions and post it there? :)
  21. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,966   +2,524

    Well, you started this thread with some innuendo about we all might need tinfoil hats, and M$ is a "benevolent giant", looking after us with nothing but the purest intentions. So, you are without a doubt, condescending.

    On top of that, you launched into how "this forum doesn't like PNG files, and what a sacrifice it was for you to use JPEG.

    If the forum wont accept PNG files, it does concern the entire active membership. Don't try and make that about you alone. . I'm trying to make it right for the rest of us, concerning the one single technical point.

    Now, if I were trying to prevent you from starting more M$ propaganda threads, then you would have something genuine to complain about.
    wizardB likes this.
  22. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Topic Starter Posts: 677   +114

    wow you need to work on comprehension there. launched into?? lol I said, and I quote, "Here's those privacy policies, this site didn't like .png files"

    you read everything as if you wrote it and are always cranky and complaining, we are not all like that, some of us enjoy our lives and live the way we like and are blessed to be happy most of the time.
  23. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Topic Starter Posts: 677   +114


    The enzo is a nice enough car, a bit too boxy for my tastes, I prefer the la ferrari, it's very similar but looks so much smoother,
    but my favorite is the cal t


    Now, if we are talking about all cars and not just ferraris, then
    or this
  24. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164


    I posted the LaFarraie as well. I like the Enzo for its street F1 looks, and the La Farrari for its elegance. non Farrari wise I like the Pagani
    Zonda and Huarya's
    pagani 1.
  25. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Topic Starter Posts: 677   +114

    Never drove either of those so I can't judge them, but...
    This is as close as I have gotten to the body style.
    The ride is too stiff to be comfortable for long drives.

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