Microsoft’s Windows 10 has permission to watch your every move

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Windows 10 Technical Preview

Microsoft launched its Windows 10 on Tuesday and is giving all members of its Windows Insider Programme a free look see at the new Windows 10.  Microsoft is giving the Windows 10 Technical Preview version as a gesture of openness and willingness to collaborate with developers and users and get their feedback on the ultimate Windows 10 that it may launch by the end of this year.

Backdoor?

As more and more users are jumping the queue to download the Windows 10 through the Windows Insider Program, almost all of them have forgotten to check the Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions users accept while downloading the Windows 10.  If you study the privacy policy you will be startled at the amount of freedom you are giving Microsoft to spy on you.

“Microsoft collects information about you, your devices, applications and networks, and your use of those devices, applications and networks. Examples of data we collect include your name, email address, preferences and interests; browsing, search and file history; phone call and SMS data; device configuration and sensor data; and application usage.”

The above stuff may or may not be used against any user and forms the standard of any privacy policy by any Applications maker but study a bit further and you may get more and more surprised.  In a way by accepting the Windows 10 Technical Preview installation you are giving Microsoft unhindered access to your behavioural habits

“We may collect information about your device and applications and use it for purposes such as determining or improving compatibility” and “use voice input features like speech-to-text, we may collect voice information and use it for purposes such as improving speech processing.”

In simple words, Windows 10 Technical Preview is a collecting your voice, your chats, and your voice.  Albeit it is doing so with your permission.  The Privacy Policy also goes on to deliver further shocks.

 “If you open a file, we may collect information about the file, the application used to open the file, and how long it takes any use [of]it for purposes such as improving performance, or [if you]enter text, we may collect typed characters, we may collect typed characters and use them for purposes such as improving autocomplete and spell check features.”

The above said input recording methods are a classic keylogger malware features.  In absolute terms you are giving permission for Microsoft to screen your files and keep a log of your keyboard and other inputs.  Renowned Windows blogger Mary Jo Foley recently said, “I’ve heard Microsoft built a new real-time telemetry system codenamed ‘Asimov’ (yes, another Halo-influenced codename) that lets the OS team see in near real-time what’s happening on users’ machines.”

Microsoft has not yet commented on what it do with all the data it will generate from all the Windows 10 Technical Preview users but you are definitely signing on a spyware when you install the Windows 10 on your machine.

Users rarely read the EULA / Privacy Policy / Terms and Conditions.

It is a fact that 99 people out of 100 users downloading and installing a software rarely read the EULA / Privacy Policy / Terms and Conditions.  To prove this F-Secure, the security blog made a fascinating discovery on how exactly people react to the really dumb privacy policy.  Their second objective was to research on whether people would really sign up for a private open WiFi

They asked Finn Steglich of the German penetration testing company, SySS, to build a WiFi hotspot, take it out on the streets of London, and set it up and wait for folks to connect. With the free service they put up a very outlandish T & C which every user willing to use this free WiFi would have accept. F-Secure blog notes that,

“One of the terms stipulated that the user must give up their firstborn child or most beloved pet in exchange for WiFi use. In the short time the T&C page was active, six people agreed to the outlandish clause.

Herod Clause

The F-Secure experiment proves that humans are fallible to free goodies and would sign up for almost anything once they come to know it is free.  Though F-Secure would never take your first born child or your beloved pet, but technically you did be required to hand over the same once you sign up for the free WiFi.

Ditto for Windows 10 Technical Preview.  Once you sign up for the free download, there is no stopping Microsoft from using your chats, voice scans and other details though it may never use them.  But you have accepted and let them use it!!!

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29 Comments

  1. Microsoft built a new real-time telemetry system codenamed ‘Asimov’ (yes, another Halo-influenced codename)

    Isaac Asimov.

    irobot.

    Read a book.

  2. Oh please, put your tin foil hats away.

    Microsoft didn’t “launch” Windows 10 on Tuesday, they released an early alpha of the OS designed for one thing above all else… to gather feedback from users. Both consciously and otherwise. This was well documented and is not a secret in any way. By downloading the alpha, you are agreeing to help Microsoft develop the OS to improve the final product.

    There is no conspiracy here.

    • Hi Ryster,
      I agree with what you are saying but do tell me how many users downloaded the Windows 10 after properly reading the TnC. The answer is zilch. The F-Secure experiment proves that people dont read the EULA/TnC and just download the software only to play crybaby later
      Vijay

      • A F C A 1900 A F C A on

        JaHhh DuHhh !! No one Read EULA/TnC !!

        It is almost cancer to read that alot of rules of this that blaaaH BlaaaHhhh.

        When instal a game you dont want to have 1000 end 1 paces of EULA/TnC enc.

        No one READS that is logica.

        Microsoft takes the consumer not serious.

        There now 100% that consumer are idiots part of the game.

        Windows 10 malware party center ..

    • Well said. It’s an os for crying out loud anyway… It sees everything. How else will they improve usability without feedback. Get a grip.

      • Though the questions still remain: After Windows 10 is released officially, how much of these spyware and malware will be removed, and will the T&Cs be re-written AND will Microsoft continue to collect information WITHOUT your consent, by adjusting the T&Cs but not taking out the back doors?

      • Good thing there are alternatives then! Some people just don’t want everything they do to be sent information systems that aren’t theirs and that is perfectly ok. The fact that people don’t think that is ok is scary.

    • The problem with the tin foil hat narrative is that they’ve turned out to be right as of late. Consider the fact that law enforcement all over the US as well as the federal level is upset they can’t get all the data they want out of Iphones because of their encryption.

      I’m sorry but berating tin-foiled hat people is all over now.

  3. Call me back when the full retail has the same sort of stipulations. Yeah, it’s creepy, but until it hits the mass-market I wouldn’t be concerned- this is the sort of thing that would torpedo Windows 10’s launch if it were still present. People don’t read the EULA, sure, you don’t need a (totally unscientific) experiment to know that. The media, however, would pick up on a story like that in no time at all, and people would most certainly pay attention to that. Remember how fast Microsoft had to backpedal on the always-on Kinect because nobody wants a robot eye staring at you 24/7? Yeah.

  4. The bottom line is that…

    if this freaks you out, then you are a derp who has no business downloading pre-release software.

    If you didn’t read the EULA, you are a derp who has no business downloading pre-release software.

    This is a perfectly legitimate way to gather information during the pre-release testing phases. This article is nothing but fear mongering clickbait.

    Move along people, there is nothing of interest to see here.

    • You are right, of course, except for the fact that these days law enforcement looks for any opportunity to grab data on as many people as possible at once. There is no stated plan for the data or its destruction once they’ve completed their analysis on it. In the absence of information the worst scenario is projected. To your point I won’t be using the pre-release software, however I hope this doesn’t end up in the version I’m paying for because 1. Do I have anything to hide? Yes, I do, the parts of my life I feel are none of anyone’s business. When I log on to my computer and keep my data local to my computer I expect it to be private. and 2. I’m paying for the software and therefore should be free of software such as what is described in this article.

  5. “Microsoft has not yet commented on what it do with all the data”… Ummm, it says RIGHT THERE what they plan on doing with it… for purposes such as determining or improving compatibility, for purposes such as improving speech processing, for purposes such as improving performance, or for purposes such as improving autocomplete and spell check features”

    It doesn’t take a genius to understand what they could use the information for. They want to know how people use their products… and they want to know how the majority of the population reacts to certain things all in hopes of creating better usability.

    • Hi Kenley
      I hope you are right but do remember that backdoors like this left open let snoopers into your computer. What happens if any of the keyloggers data falls in wrong hands. Dont give the shit about using it for performance improvement. If you are going to install a technical preview version you are going to visit a site which contains important credentials, what if these get into wrong hands.

      Too many questions very little answers and hiding behind the EULA

      • And sadly, we have seen all to often “well intentioned corruption”.. It was meant to be used for improvements, but the developers really couldn’t resist making a profit from all of your information, so they hand it our to business associates, other information collection companies and soon everyone has it.

        If I had a dollar for every time I got an email from company C who had got my email address from company B who bought it from company A I’d never have to work again.

  6. Microsoft’s intrusiveness is a feature of its business model, and Microsoft has never been in the business of protecting the interests of its software’s users. That does not make Microsoft some sort of embodiment of evil; Microsoft is merely a device for making a profit for investors. It is honorable to make a profit honestly, and by and large Microsoft plays by the rules, such as they are.

    Actually, Microsoft’s behavior has improved. In the past, Microsoft didn’t announce their intrusiveness so plainly, so when it became clear to members of the Microsoft Developer Network that the products for which they were paying a hefty recurring annual license/access fee were quietly reporting immense quantities of their private data to Microsoft, there was some scandal about it. Even then, though, the MSDN license agreement had fine print which could be interpreted as a grant of permission to Microsoft to do scan all directories and report their contents (which turned out to be exactly what they were doing).

    What has always amazed me, and continues to amaze me, is the fact that lawyers generally sign End User License Agreements (EULAs), including Microsoft EULAs, that contain provisions directly contrary to their ethical duties to the privacy of their clients. I have yet to meet a lawyer who, before I raised the issue with them, had bothered to read and understand the EULA to which he/she had already agreed. The minority of lawyers who expressed dismay upon learning about the provisions of EULAs they have already signed seem to me much more qualified to be officers of the courts in a democratic republic than those who merely shrug. As a potential client, I’m not interested in hiring any shruggers.

  7. Pingback: Keylogger in Windows 10? (Wer Windows verwendet ist selber schuld) | Analyse + Aktion

  8. The horrible terms and conditions of Microsoft’s Windows 10, are pretty much the same in Visual Studio, when developer is required to sign up for a free (italicized) developers license in Visual Studio. Have you ever read that T&C? It is awful and I hate it. I need to develop C# applications, so I installed a fresh copy of Windows, and Visual Studio on a Virtual Machine, that doesn’t have have any personal information or additional applications on it. Do to Microsoft’s horrible EULA agreement, I am strongly considering moving my C# projects to MonoDevelop.

  9. I wonder how many of you remember programs like back orifice? You remember, that software that let me get on your computer and do everything and anything big and small and we’d all turn the volume up on someones machine play a sound or open and close the CD tray over and over again? Good times, good times. Or the more aggressive users who planted more stuff on peoples computers to become part of DDoS networks and other things? It’s poorly written, buggy, bloated software like this that Microsoft puts in that makes all that possible.

  10. I am a bit of an expert on containing the windows virus and as a last line of defence I use my routers firewall outbound rules to stop windows calling home but even I am having trouble in keeping the virus safe.

    Switching off windows service (Some need you to hack the registry) and killing processes together with updates, safe browsing and anything else turned off still results in windows calling home from dll’s hidden inside host processes like SvrHost, TaskHost, ComHost and others.

    Microsoft has become bloated spyware, too big to control and for this reason I will be moving over to Linux Mint because it’s the only way i can be sure that my every move is not being recorded and yes I am MCSD so even Microsoft cannot say that i don’t know what I am talking about.

  11. What knuckleheads…so, you figure that upgrading to windows10 is going to take you down? I suppose you’re going to be in for a big surprise when you purchase your next computer -Windows10 will already be installed on it. I guess you can reformat to another OS or forgo that altogether by building a blank slate and loading ubuntu (which actually works quite well) or maybe cough up the big bucks and go “MAC”

    …I heard tell that once you go MAC you’ll never go back…LOL ( I couldn’t resist)

  12. Newsflash. All cellphones transmit GPS and at least some metadata. Most internet traffic is logged, cable boxes regularly transmit data to the cable company (its how on demand works). Want to end the spying? Go offline and get rid of cable and cellphones. Otherwise deal with it. Windows isn’t the only “popular” is to spy on its users…

  13. Israel J Pattison on

    Microsoft Windows 10 *does not* have permission to watch my every move…because I have alternatives to Microsoft products including Mac OS X and Linux.

  14. “The greatest guilt today is that people who accept collectivism by moral default; the people who seek protection from the necessity of taking a stand, by refusing to admit to themselves the nature of that which the are accepting; the people who support plans specifically designed to achieve serfdom, but hide behind the empty assertion that they lovers of freedom, with no concrete meaning attached to the word; the people who believe that the content of ideas need not be examined, that principles need not be defined and that FACTS CAN BE ELIMINATED BY KEEPING ONE’S EYES SHUT.

    They expect, when they find themselves in a world of bloody ruins and concentration camps to escape moral responsibility by wailing: “But I didn’t mean THIS!”
    -Ayn Rand

  15. Windows 10 is a cloud centric OS if you don’t know what that means all other arguments are pointless. Lets just say it does more than just spy on you. The people who have it worse are those who have mobile devices with Windows 10 installed on there, as Windows 10 does more than what the EULA hints at. Geo-location for example could mean 24/7 tracking of your hand device, having Cortana could also mean using your device as a bug for recording all audio/visual data. If you don’t care about that you may ignore this as most mobile services these days spy on users anyway.

    I think Satya Nadella said it best: “Everything is going to be connected to cloud and data… All of this will be mediated by software.”

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