Russian lawyers want Windows 10 banned in Russia because it spies on users
Once again Microsoft has found itself in troubled waters due to the data collection settings in its new operating system Windows 10. The Bubnov and Partners Moscow legal firm has filed a complaint with the Prosecutor General’s Office and and have asked Prosecutor General Yury Chaika to investigate violations of the law that allegedly occur during the distribution of Microsoft’s new product Windows 10, thus infringing the local laws, reports RIA Novosti reported on Wednesday citing attorney Alexei Kuznetsov.
According to the attorneys, the law firm claims that Windows 10 threatens user privacy, as the operating system collects browser history, passwords, location, emails, calendar events and voice samples and passes them on to third parties.
The request could suggest that Microsoft could use this data for its own purpose and also to transfer them to third parties, from advertisers to security services to courts. The attorneys are mainly concerned with maintaining legal confidentiality. They claim that no lawyer using Windows 10 can guarantee confidentiality to a client.
According to the law firm, the data collection function should be switched off by default and users should be able to choose whether to turn it on. They also said that the new operating system should only be approved for distribution in Russia after Microsoft complies with this condition.
Last week, State Duma Deputy Vadim Solovyov sent an official request to the Prosecutor General’s Office to review Microsoft, for its compliance with the Russian law, Izvestia newspaper reported at the time. Solovyov believes that, since many Russian government agencies use Windows operating systems, it could result in leaks of classified information in favor of foreign intelligence. The deputy also claimed that Windows 10 is effectively spying on its users.
A spokesman for Microsoft, however, denied the allegations to RIA Novosti.
“The new operating system offers users the choice of how they want it to handle their data and users can change the settings at any point,” the unidentified spokesman told the news agency on Thursday. The company said in a statement that the privacy of the users is fully protected in Windows 10.
“Windows 10 puts customers in control by giving them choices about how information is used to deliver personalized services and experiences. We also offer customers a number of options in Windows 10 privacy settings to control any additional information they choose to provide,” the company added.
The Windows 10 data collection features can be done disabled from the settings screen. However, several apps that are already existing can do this automatically with just a few clicks. According to what some say, even if the features in the settings screen is disabled, Microsoft still continues to collect information in the background. Hence, to ensure that your privacy is not violated, it is advisable to use third-party apps when using the new operating system.
For a period of 12 months, starting July 29,2015, the new Windows 10 operating system can be installed for free on computers using the previous version of Windows 7/8/8.1. Within the first 24 hours of release, some 14 million users around the world had downloaded the OS.