Windows 10 Can be Your Worst Privacy Nightmare

Are you downloading Windows 10 upgrade? or planning to do so in next few hours? then we are totally sorry for spoiling your excitement but we think that you should know some facts that can grade Windows 10 into a spying software.

With every new version of an operating system there comes new exiting features and Windows 10 is no doubt a major upgrade that brings along variety of cool stuff; including the legendary “Start Menu button”.

Along with sleek features, Windows 10 comes with new set of privacy policies that have attracted a lot of criticism with-in 24 hours of its launch.

You should go ahead and read Privacy Policy and Service Agreement yourself in detail to find out the extent of information that you would be sharing with Microsoft.

We are presenting few of the items below:

Data Syncing is by Default Enabled

Your private data and apps (software) settings will be synced with Microsoft servers by default. This data includes your browsing history, websites that are open, apps settings, software setting, WiFi hotspot names and passwords and similar things.

This is very much similar to what Chrome does and it can be disabled by going into Setting menu > Privacy> general > Change privacy option.

Your Device is By Default Tagged with a Unique Advertising ID

With Windows 10, each user on each device is uniquely assigned an advertising ID that can be used to serve you with personalized advertisements by third-party advertisers and ad networks.

You can opt-out of this tagging by going into privacy options.

Cortana Can Collect Any of your Data

Cortana, a Siri like voice assistant that isn’t available in Pakistan as a feature but is bundled with the Windows 10 upgrade, can collect any and every data that you use, including your keystrokes, mic input, searches, data from your calendar, your address book, contacts and relationship, credit card payment information, data from your email, SMS, your call list, music that you listen, what you view or purchase, browser history and what not.

Microsoft says that its necessary for Cortana to collect all this data in order to work with optimum results. However, there is a lot of data that you are allowing to send back to Microsoft servers and we think you should be aware of this fact.

Microsoft can Collect Any Personal Data of Yours!

In addition to what’s mentioned above, when you download Windows 10 and sign the agreement, you are actually authorizing Microsoft to collect your following information:

  • Your Identity: First and last name, email address, postal address, phone number, and other similar contact data
  • Passwords: Passwords, password hints, and similar security information used for authentication and account access
  • Demographics: Data about you such as your age, gender, country and preferred language
  • Interests and Habits: Data about your interests and favorites, such as the teams you follow in a sports app, the stocks you track in a finance app, or the favorite cities you add to a weather app.
  • Credit Card information: Data necessary to process your payment if you make purchases, such as your payment instrument number (such as a credit card number), and the security code associated with your payment instrument.
  • Usage data: Microsoft collects data about how you interact with various services. Such as the features you use, the items you purchase, the web pages you visit, and the search terms you enter.
  • Contacts and relationships. We collect data about your contacts and relationships if you use a Microsoft service to manage contacts, or to communicate or interact with other people or organizations.
  • Location data. Microsoft collects data about your location, either through GPS or by identifying nearby cell towers and Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • Content: Microsoft collects 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, such as the:
    • subject line and body of an email,
    • text or other content of an instant message,
    • audio and video recording of a video message, and
    • audio recording and transcript of a voice message you receive or a text message you dictate.

Your Data Can be Shared

When downloading Windows 10, you are authorizing Microsoft to share any of above mentioned data with any third-party, with or without your consent.

Here’s what the privacy policy says:

We share your personal data with your consent or as necessary to complete any transaction or provide any service you have requested or authorized.

We 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), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to:

  1. Comply with applicable law 
  2. Protect our customers, for example to prevent spam or attempts to defraud users of the services, or to help prevent the loss of life or serious injury of anyone;
  3. Operate and maintain the security of our services, including to prevent or stop an attack on our computer systems or networks; or
  4. Protect the rights or property of Microsoft

Conclusion

Since Windows 10 is a device independent OS, meaning that it will be able to run on PCs, tablets, smartphones and on other capable devices, it collects a lot more data than previous versions. However, accessing private files and emails is pretty serious.

While we know that there’s nothing private on internet, this is a lot of private data that is going to get accessed and probably shared with third parties.

Considering Windows 10 is distributed as a free upgrade, data privacy advocates are likely to get on the roll soon.

Over all we think it may get crucial for many to decide to either upgrade to Windows 10 or not.

Let us know in below comments if you are going to upgrade or not?

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK


  • Arslan Ejaz

    Well Every free thing Comes at a fortune

    • Ali

      Jab hi tu FREE main dey rahay hain. samajhdar kay liye ishara hi kafi hai

      • dill dar

        agr free main na ho to kia grantee hai ke datacolect niho ga?

  • Let the Criticism begin! (but points are valid too!)!

  • Dr. Aamir Liaquat Hussain

    the writer himself upgraded to windows 10. if he has no issue then how come others.
    who care about privacy when something is free.
    just see blackberry who provide the most secure system to their users with main concern of privacy and are out of business today coz no body care

    • Abu Bakar Sadeeq

      Ok! We can understand your new slogan
      “Windows 10 lagao Musalmano” :P

      • Tayyab

        Hahaha same same

  • Nemesis

    I think when you install an android app that also collects all of your information. Don’t care about privacy issues much as my name is Nemesis and I’m not a terrorist but I must wait till Dec as this os gets updated.

  • Umar Farooq

    Google also have all these records i’d say. But all this is to make the customer’s experience better, nothing else.

  • Muhammad Aamir

    I don’t think it’s a big problem. I try to make it clear.

    1. Your Identity

    When you log in, it’s not important to give your original e-mail rather you can use any e-mail address like Aamir Liaquat does on Propakistani. Again, it’s not important to write your real home address, rather enter Aamir Liaquat’s home address.

    2. Passwords

    Oh, come on, Man! It’s not a big problem. You can use different password for every website. Are you facing difficulty in memorizing a password? Go ahead for LastPast.

    3. Demographics

    When you comment on Disqus, your IP address is shown where Aamir Atta can see your address. Once, he gets it he can see all the information that he has written above. The same goes for everything, every popular website knows about you where you are.

    4. Interests and Habits

    In terms of interests and habits, I will call Facebook the king. When you surf Facebook, it knows better than you in which things you’re interested. If you’re interested in cars, more cars post and ads will be shown. It’s the biggest deal a company makes $$$$$. Google and Microsoft do the same.

    5. Credit Card information

    If you’re not interested in giving your data to Microsoft, it’s not necessary to give you although. There are many safe ways to buy Burnol.

    6. Usage data

    It’s an alternative phrase for interests and habits, of course, if you visit a website it will use/collect your data in order to gain productivity. I presume Propakistani knows it very well, what kind of news attracts more users and traffic. Proapakistani has learned a lot in 8 years.

    7. Contacts and relationships

    I’m going to tell you an amazing secret of Facebook that happens to all. When you use Facebook app, it collects all the contacts from your phone on their server without your permission. Need a proof? Go to the Settings>General and click on “Download a Copy”. Download it and see the hidden contacts – Name and Mobile Number. If Facebook doesn’t care, why Microsoft will do. Simply, when you online, privacy doesn’t exist.

    8. Location data

    If you have a SIM card, you’re traceable. If you’re using the internet with Wifi, you’re are traceable. It’s a game of getting your IP address.

    9. Content

    You didn’t write it coherently rather vaguely. You could have written when the CIA or the FBI gives us money or it’s requested we give the data without your permission. The same goes for Facebook and Google and others.

    0. My Point Of View

    If you’re innocent, you don’t need to care about the CIA or the FBI or anything else. They’re not interested in your life either you’re eating Baryani or Dehi Bally by sending message or e-mail. Oh, Yeah! Hackers!! If you know how to protect yourself from pushing, virus, malware, you’re protected. Just Learn it.

    • Khaleeq Sulehri

      Thank you Amir Bro !
      You have shared Great Information and increased my Knowledge…..

  • Ali

    Yeah right, and Google, Facebook, Twitter are innocents…

  • Fahad

    Do you really think privacy is in the hand of a user now? It’s not the case anymore. If a user has “privacy concerns” he should stop using the internet because once you’re online you’re screwed! People are so freakin addicted to Facebook and it collects every bit of your personal data. Google and its browser (Chrome) are doing the same. So it won’t even matter if Microsoft has some of your data too. Relax and enjoy the windows 10.

    • Tayyeb Sheikh

      Agreed with Aamir. (Y)

      • Fahad

        Oh well, my name is fahad brother. You should have replied to him then. Never-mind though :)

  • Asad Umer

    One can expect brainless comments from Dr. Amir Liaquat Hussain.

    The writer took the trouble of going through the Privacy Policy and Service Agreement which none of us cares to read.

    Thank you Amir bhai for the effort.

    This nation needs to be jolted, woken up so that it has some pride and self respect.

    The nation has become reliant on free stuff and hand outs.

    Pakistan is not independent any more.

    I believe this 14.August.2015 should mark the beginning of a new resolution for independence of our data and online identities and Amir bhai, your Pro Pakistani forum is the best place to start. I am sure that we will have some logical, like minded people in Pakistan who understand the value of freedom and independence.

  • Muhammad Talha Javed

    Just Bc

  • Uzair Farooqi

    Well i guess i have to uninstall my wifi driver than :-P

    • Muhammad Aamir

      It has only one solution. Don’t use the internet ever. :D

      • Raja Maja

        what if he sells his gadget or device in open market or God forbid the device got theft, it is still vulnerable to any data sniffer.

  • Muhammad Ashraf

    This is why windows 10 is free, because they will sell data to advertisers

    • free for 1st year!

      • Muhammad Ashraf

        1 year is quite enough to upgrade almost windows 10 capable devices

  • Umair Rehman

    I would like to see a comparison of the data collected by Microsoft, Apple, Google and Facebook. My guess is that we have already handed over most of the keys to our digital life to one or more of these companies. Gmail already reads my emails. Facebook knows my friends and a whole lot of other details. To compete, in getting closer to the customer, I don’t think Ms has more choices rather than to swoop in into the lives of their users.

  • not a big deal; at-least for home and personal use.

  • EnjoinGoodForbidEvil

    As long as your interests & work are earthly and in conformity with the interest of USnakesofA n allies you are all good.

    “O you who believe! Take not as
    (your) Bitanah (advisors, consultants, protectors, helpers, friends,
    etc.) those outside your religion (pagans, Jews, Christians, and
    hypocrites) since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you.
    They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their
    mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse. Indeed We have
    made plain to you the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses) if you
    understand.”3:118

  • Mohsan Hassan

    WHO CARES ????

  • Since everything is configurable, it’s better to educate the audience to go through all the settings carefully and disable wherever they feel the feature is not for them.

    It’s nothing new, infact all the OS we use (Windows, Android, iOS) has almost all of these features enabled which collect data mainly for advertising purpose.

    Facebook is another example!

    All of these companies has Privacy and Advertising policies which you agree before using; then it’s your responsibility. Google do collect almost everything whatever we do on our browsers and phone and you agree to all this when you started using their service :)

  • A.N.T. Bhatti

    These are the informations which user delibrately give to get more services. You want to hide your name and email adfdress? don’t create an online account then. You want to hide your phone number? Use public phone.
    I know it’s going too far, but my point is, if you want personal services, you HAVE to give personal data.

    We know Microsoft defended the case of giving acces to its users data to US government, but I think they (US) are imposing it on them (Microsoft and everyone) that they have to give access when its important (for them) no matter what. (what CIA would actually want).

    BUT at least Microsoft is becoming open about it, and there are still conditions. Not like Google which can give all your info to anyone who wants to buy it.

  • ADNAN NAZIR

    Shut the fuck offf! We have heard things many similar things about Windows 8 too.
    Go kill your self.
    Just trying to attract visitors for no fucking reasons!

  • Rehan Farhat

    We have already lost privacy at the time of making and later using facebook accounts.

  • Mdanish Attari

    Google’s Security is low than Microsoft, hackers ca found your data from google account,
    but microssoft security is hard.

  • Waqas

    If chrome does this, you get the convenience to use app those websites at your mobile without enterying passwords. You get your bookmarks and all the personalized settings at multiple devices. and BTW nothing is free in this world.

  • Tayyeb Sheikh

    Dear All Friends, Keep in mind that any Device or OS connected to Internet is not Safe :) It can be hacked anytime by Any Security Exploiter. So leave it if Microsoft, Google or Twitter get your Personal Data.

    Only the game is to get IP Address of that Device and “Mehboob Ap kay Kadmo May”

    Above mentioned words are from Sir Haroon Ahmed, Corvit System Lahore – Islamabad.

  • muhammad jawad

    you should definitely see kingsman secret servcie movie now….

  • Hassan

    Doest it also collect images from my personal drives?

  • Umar

    If you’re not paying for it; you are the product.

  • Muhammad Ubaid Raza

    I would rate this article highly irresponsible writeup. After installing Windows, first screen that came up ask if you want to share data, report problems etc everything can be switched off.

  • Bilal Irfan

    Please stop using FACEBOOK too if you are concerned that much. Bullshit.

  • Dilawer

    10,000 bulls shitting together won’t be able to provide the amount of bullshit that I’ve read in this article.

  • aamir

    can i use windows 10 on my mac ?

  • Bilal Aahil

    There are two sides to this privacy war, you can either be okay with them or be really disgusted and stop using any of it ..of course you can turn most of them off.. It takes bit of digging and time.

    Thing we really need to understand is, Siri on IPhone and Google now in most Android phone and also out beloved chrome all do most of thing’s mentioned above, its sort of what makes your experience personalized.

    To be honest, for the most part I’ll be okay with Apple to have my data than Google but truth is, Google knows more about me then my best friend, and that’s true for all of us ..in so glad Google is not an AI ..yet.

    As worried all that gets me, its sort of what you give to have those services so even if they put a pay wall on it, they can still do it. We all need to think bit more of what this privacy thing actually is.. I mean, we know it but more we think what it is it makes less sense than it did at the beginning

  • Waqas Tariq

    Tell us something that Google / Apple don’t do already. You failed to mention that advertising data is anonymous with a unique ID that can be reset using MS Account.

  • MMMTheHacker

    I upgraded today and can confirm that everything that you’ve written is true. But, all of the above mentioned privacy options can be changed according to your will. The real problem is “Automatic Windows Update” which is extremely annoying.

    • Waqas Tariq

      Windows updates will now be tested with millions of Windows Insiders first before they are released, so far far less changes of mistakes or bad drivers. This is what the future is, we stop worrying about keeping the system upto date and working on tasks that really matter.

      • MMMTheHacker

        I keep my system up-to-date so there is no need for them to do that for me. I know this feature is really really helpful for normal users who don’t even know about windows update or really don’t care about it. I simply don’t want them to do this automatically.

  • Saqib

    windows 10 is a one big malware

    • MMMTheHacker

      No matter how much I hate windows but I’m gonna say “What is this Nonsense”??? Did you even checked this yourself? I upgraded yesterday and all of the options that you see above are under your control (if you know how to control). And those start menu options are not in my settings, not at all, no ads, nothing (I’m using windows 10 education).

      • Saqib

        I am not talking about those who are tech savvy like you, people who are lesser computer literate (and most of the windows users are) might never be visiting these controls and would be giving away their data to less safer hands. Apart from that, who knows these controls are meaningless and your privacy is breached in every possible manner whether you turn these controls on or off, you might be aware of some of the Snowden’s revelations?

        • MMMTheHacker

          The settings option in windows is very to understand and also after you install the windows, the setup will present these settings to you (all of the main settings related to privacy). And for the second part of your comment, if you want to find out whether those buttons are dummy buttons then here’s what you should do:
          1: Check your network activity using a software (not the built in softwares available in windows).
          2: Find out if anything related to those services which you disabled is using the network (search google with the name of the services and what they are for).
          3: If you find anything suspicious then you may either just simply disable it after comfirmatio or you may go to court against MS with your research as a proof.

    • Zahid Ullah

      i think turning it off is not the solution ! they will be pulling information from your system , difference is when settings are ON , they will be pulling data with priority level Green , when you turn them off , then they will be pulling data with priority level RED ! ………………………. solution , do not install devilsoft OS after windows 7 …. or better to switch to LINUX

  • Fiverrian

    Best example of attention seeker blogger! Get a life! Seriously!

  • Spid3r

    installed already looking good but not activated yet.

  • Ateek Sheikh

    I’m upgrading on one machine after knowing all of this stuff then upgrading my work laptop.

  • Shoaib A Jamal

    Apple is doing these for years now so is google. Personalized experience requires such data collection. This is weird to us because we have been storing our private data on our PCs.

  • Hallah Shahid Butt

    If we are going to install it using CD/DVD, we’ll have to face these issues as well ? or this is only for those who are upgrading their OS?

  • Zahid Ullah

    Cortana will be feeding Jade 2.0 …. Jade 2.0 is currently busing in carrying operation in TEXAS ,, Jade helm 15 operation …………. Future is not bright , Future is totally dark ! image super AI Jade controlling thousands of military armed robots walking in our streets …………….. SKY NET is about to ONLINE