Microsoft Corp. Launches Windows 10 In Japan
Takuya Hirano, president and chief executive officer of Microsoft Japan Co., speaks during Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 10 operating system product launch. Kiyoshi Ota—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Microsoft Will Add Privacy Controls in Windows 10 Update

Jan 11, 2017

Microsoft is tweaking Windows 10's privacy controls after months of criticism about the operating system's default data collection practices.

On Tuesday, Microsoft(msft) debuted a web-based privacy dashboard, which lets customers tailor their activity tracking preferences. Additionally, the company said it plans to introduce a new privacy setup screen, which walks people through tracking choices and less "diagnostic" data collections in upcoming software releases.

Microsoft is releasing the latter set of changes "soon," the company said in a Tuesday blog post, starting with a preview version of its software for members of its Windows Insider program. After a weeks-long feedback period, the company plans to incorporate the updates into the Creators Update, the first major overhaul of the Windows software, codenamed "Redstone 2," which is slated for the spring.

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"Many of you have asked for more control over your data, a greater understanding of how data is collected, and the benefits this brings for a more personalized experience," wrote Terry Myerson, head of Microsoft's Windows and devices group, in the post. "Based on your feedback, we are launching two new experiences to help ensure you are in control of your privacy."

Critics, such as a French commission on data protection and the U.S.-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, have panned Windows 10's standard data collection policies as "excessive" and "unprecedented." The groups complained that Microsoft flouted informed consent by providing unclear privacy options to customers.

The privacy dashboard, now accessible via account.microsoft.com/privacy, allows customers to manage their browsing and search history, their location data, and their information stored in Cortana's Notebook, a cache that Microsoft's voice assistant uses to create personalized interactions.

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Microsoft provided images of the to-be-released privacy setup screen. The design falls in line with the approach taken by other tech companies, such as Facebook (fb), in recent months.

Here's what the tool may look like, based on the materials in Myerson's post. The portal has five "on/off" toggle switches for various data types, like ad tracking and speech recognition.

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Notice that the central "diagnostics" tab has two settings: "full" or "basic." Microsoft has eliminated its third "enhanced" level, which appeared in earlier software, to make the choice more "simplified" for customers, per Myserson's blog post.

Per Myserson, Microsoft also claims to have "reduced the data collection" when people select "basic," versus past software.

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Fortune has not tested the latest updates, but will look to do so when they become available.

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