In the wake of the high-profile launch of Windows 10 last week, privacy advocates have been flooding the Web with tutorials on configuring the operating system’s default settings for a computing experience that keeps a closer eye on user data.
Some of the controversy stems from sections like the following, which describes the sort of usage data Microsoft collects:
“We collect data about how you interact with our services. This includes data, such as the features you use, the items you purchase, the web pages you visit, and the search terms you enter. This also includes data about your device, including IP address, device identifiers, regional and language settings, and data about the network, operating system, browser or other software you use to connect to the services.”
Privacy concerns are having an effect on how Windows 10 is being perceived on social media, according to data from Abode’s Digital Index. Two days after the July 29 launch of the OS, sentiment began to sour, with 35 percent of mentions on Twitter, Instagram and other social networks relating to “sadness.” Those bruised feeling were caused, in part, by features like the controversial Wi-Fi Sense.
Wi-Fi Sense crowdsources WiFi hotspot access by sharing log-in details with Facebook, Skype and Outlook.com contacts. Contrary to early reports that Microsoft was automatically sharing WiFi passwords, the company assures in its FAQ that users have control over which networks they share; recipients never see a hotspot’s password in plain text—Microsoft’s servers encrypt shared log-in information—and users can revoke access at any time.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is facing criticism from Mozilla, maker of the Firefox browser, for how Windows 10 handles third-party browsers.
In an open letter to Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, Chris Beard, CEO of Mozilla, said the “update experience appears to have been designed to throw away the choice your customers have made about the Internet experience they want, and replace it with the Internet experience Microsoft wants them to have.” The Windows 10 upgrade process defaults to Microsoft’s new Edge browser.
Average users may be at a loss about their browser choices under Windows 10, suggested Beard.
“It now takes more than twice the number of mouse clicks, scrolling through content and some technical sophistication for people to reassert the choices they had previously made in earlier versions of Windows,” Beard said. “It’s confusing, hard to navigate and easy to get lost.”
Mozilla has published a support document instructing users on how to change the default browser on Windows 10.