For example, I read one article in a major news source that has apparently been shared more than 2 thousand times (when I read it), that I found particularly alarmist and uninformative. It basically gave the same amount of information as a traffic report telling you there is a rush hour pileup someplace in the city, without any details about where, when, or how to avoid it. This article claimed “Windows 10 may send Microsoft data even when you tell it not to”, with very little other information. This is an example of a Chicken Little attitude.
On the other hand, I am a little skeptical about the claims in the Microsoft commercials that because of Windows 10, life for young children growing up today will be completely different. I think there might just be a bit more to it than that.
The fact is, yes there are features in Windows 10 that give me concerns around privacy and security – just as there are similar concerns with features in iOS and Android. The difference is this is a new OS, people don’t have a lot of experience with it yet, it is the primary OS used for business and corporate desktops, and this is being rolled out semi-automatically to probably millions of users in a short period of time. So what should you do about it?
First, unless there are features in Windows 10 that you especially want or need, and if you have a good, working system in place today (say with Windows 7 Professional or Enterprise), you don’t need to be in a rush to install Windows 10, just because it is new. The point of my post was not to suggest anyone should drop everything and install Windows 10, but to relate my experiences in case you want or need to upgrade.
Second, my installation of Windows 10 does not use all of the new features that come with the OS. My intent was to see what it would take to install it and get a working system with the same or equivalent features as I had before, as quickly as possible. To that end, I have turned off some of the features that might give cause for concern.
When you begin the installation of Windows 10 it gives you an option to take the default installation, or use custom settings. It warns you that the default settings will collect more data than previous releases, but that you can change that later if you like. In order to streamline the upgrade installation I chose the default settings, but then the first thing I did once it was completed was to go into Settings to check what it had done, and adjust the settings to a level I was more comfortable with.
As an example, I have turned off the camera, the microphone and voice recognition, location information, and most of the feedback options.
While I am interested in some of the features in the new Edge browser, it is not supported by my antivirus software, and the vendor suggests using a different browser. So until that is resolved I will be using other web browsers, like Internet Explorer and Firefox, for most of my internet activity. I will only use Edge with sites I know well.
At this point I don’t need to have Cortana learning all about me and my habits. If and when I require these features I can turn them on.
Maybe I will get to the point that I am happy to have conversations with my laptop, and have it respond verbally, but probably not today.