Ever since the release of Windows 10, many consumers have complained about the data collection built into the operating system. Now, in the next release of Windows 10, slated for a release this spring, Microsoft will be including a new Windows 10 app that will let you see what information you are sending to Microsoft.
Currently, you only have two choices when it comes to data transmission, assuming you are using one of the consumer versions of Windows 10. You can send the the “Full” amount of information or “Basic” information. While you can supposedly turn it off, when your machine updates I have found that if often gets turned back on without your knowledge. If you are anything like me, that means that you are sending the info right now and you may not even know it.
In the next big release of Windows 10, Microsoft will be including a new app that will let you see what you are sending to Microsoft in those transmissions. However, there are a few caveats. One look at a screenshot from Microsoft will tell you that the information you will be seeing won’t be all that useful. It includes strings of code and JSON structured data using Magic numbers. These numbers are used to encode information that is being sent. So, at the end of the day, what you will be able to see will still be very limited, and if you are an every day user, chances are what you see will be utterly meaningless.
With this revelation, one has to wonder why they are bothering doing it at all. Many believe this is a half hearted attempt to appease the security critics, but without the app showing us in detail exactly what is being transmitted to them, the app almost seems pointless to me.
Of course, much of the criticism directed toward Microsoft isn’t based on what they are collecting, but the fact that they are doing it at all. The irony is that every major software manufacturer is guilty of this type of collection, but the same vocal criticism never seems to make it to them. However, because of the sheer number of computers in the world running Windows, it’s easy to see why they would become a big target for anyone with security and privacy concerns.
Becoming more transparent about the data is a great first step for Microsoft, and I’m glad to see they are going to start offering this option. It does show that Microsoft doesn’t have anything to hide, but I do feel that they could do more with this app than just show us a bunch of code that, for many, won’t mean much at all. Who knows, maybe in a future update of the app there will be an easy way to translate the data into something more meaningful, and it’s still early yet in the development, so more could come in the final release.
What do you think about the addition of this new app? Are you glad to see it coming to Windows or should Microsoft do more to let us control what does and does not get sent to them?
About the author
Matt is an IT professional with over fifteen years experience supporting network infrastructure and computers. An avid gamer, Matt enjoys his time playing and writing about his experiences both in the IT world and in the gaming communities. You can find more of his writing for LaptopNinja where he enjoys talking about everything tech.