Russian lawyers claim Windows 10 ‘spies’ on users
Mon 24 Aug 2015
Russian lawyers last week filed a compliant with the Prosecutor General’s Office over privacy concerns raised by Microsoft’s newly launched Windows 10 operating system, according to local news agency RIA Novosti.
The Moscow-based legal practice Bubnov and Partners claimed that Windows 10 illegally collects data regarding users’ browser history, passwords, location, email content, calendar appointments as well as voice recordings.
An official request to investigate Microsoft’s compliance with Russian law had been released the week prior to the complaint by State Duma Deputy Vadim Solovyov. The official claimed that Microsoft illicitly spies on its users through Windows 10 and breaches Russian regulations set up to protect internet users in the country.
“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,” an anonymous spokesperson said of Microsoft’s latest OS.
Although Microsoft has not commented formally on the accusations, it has previously released explanations on its data collection features:
“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 Russian Association for Electronic Communications confirmed in a statement last Friday that Windows 10 offers flexibility on data preferences and therefore does not go against any Russian law. The Association cited as an example the option available to users to disable data collection in system settings.
Some have suggested that Microsoft continues to collect information even if data collection has been disabled. Third-party applications are popping up as an effective way to ensure privacy is not violated, such as Destroy Windows 10 Spying which disables tracking services and offers manual configuration of the OS, including deleting ‘permanent’ Microsoft apps including OneDrive, Alarm, Mail and Calendar.