Windows 10 has been severely criticized over its aggressive upgrade tactics, privacy concerns and lack of user choice, in a new report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Very recently, EFF just also ranked WhatsApp as the worst mobile app for user privacy and now it has turned its attention to the PC giant, Microsoft.
EFF started with reprimanding Microsoft on its update tactics, saying, “The tactics Microsoft employed to get users of earlier versions of Windows to upgrade to Windows 10 went from annoying to downright malicious. What users actually wanted didn’t seem to matter. In an extreme case, members of a wildlife conservation group in the African jungle felt that the automatic download of Windows 10 on a limited bandwidth connection could have endangered their lives if a forced upgrade had begun during a mission.”
The ruthless group then viciously accused Microsoft of stealing information from its users or unprecedented privacy breach. “Windows 10 sends an unprecedented amount of usage data back to Microsoft,” writes Amul Kalia, of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Said data are called telemetry data by Microsoft. It includes location data, text input, voice input, touch input, webpages users’ visits, and other data regarding the general usage of users’ computer, including which programs they run and for how long.
EFF further advised the company to come clean with its user community. Microsoft answered this by saying that gathering these data is important as it helps them track performance issues in the OS so they can improve the overall user experience. Microsoft also pointed out that it provides enough options to users to opt out of Windows 10 features which make them uncomfortable, like Cortana who is used to collect most of these data.
However, EFF exposed that Microsoft only just gave an illusion of choice. There really wasn’t any choice, as Windows Update won’t function properly on copies of the operating system with telemetry reporting turned to its lowest level. EFF is worried this might jeopardize system security with less updates.
Microsoft’s Windows 10 Anniversary Update
On August 25, Microsoft released a Windows 10 Anniversary Update to fix still existing bugs in the operating system and introduce new features such as desktop pins, a new dark theme, and Windows Ink as an annotation tool. However, this didn’t just fix bugs, but it exposed compatibility issues involving webcams and PowerShell. Aside from these, some users who attempted to plug in Kindle Voyager and Paperwhite e-readers to their computers, which just went under the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, to charge those devices or transfer e-books have experienced device lock-ups and blue screens.
“We are aware of an issue with a small number of Kindle Voyager and Paperwhite e-readers causing an unexpected behavior when plugged into Windows 10 devices after installing the Anniversary Update. We are currently working on an update to address this issue,” said Microsoft, but would not comment on when the Kindle issue may be resolved or provide details as to the number of users affected.
Other than the e-reader problems, the latest update also appeared to reinstall unwanted Microsoft apps, even if you’ve already deleted the software previously. Many users are now complaining about this because the apps they deliberately removed are reinstalled against their wishes and tastes.
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