Microsoft Introduces New Privacy Tools For Windows Insiders

Ahead of the January 28 “Data Protection/Privacy Day,” Microsoft announced new privacy tools for Windows 10 that Windows Insiders can now access. Microsoft will also revamp the Privacy Dashboard to let you manage the data that is tied to your Microsoft account.

Windows Diagnostics Data Viewer

Microsoft has long been criticized over both the type of telemetry data as well as the amounts of such data that it constantly collects about its users and their PCs. The company is now offering users a way to see all the diagnostics data that the company receives from you with the The Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer. According to the company, you will be able to see, search, and take action with your diagnostic data.

The diagnostic data presented in the menu will include:

  • Common Data, like the Operating System’s name, the Version, Device ID, Device Class, Diagnostic level selection and so on.
  • Device Connectivity and Configuration such as device properties and capabilities, preferences and settings, peripherals, and device network information.
  • Product and Service Performance data that show device health, performance and reliability data, movie consumption functionality on the device and device file queries. It’s important to note that this functionality is not intended to capture user viewing or, listening habits.
  • Product and Service Usage data includes details about the usage of the device, operating system, applications, and services.
  • Software Setup and Inventory such as installed applications and install history, device update information.

It’s not clear yet to what extent you will be able to stop Microsoft from collecting this type of information about your device, because in the EU, Microsoft still has to obtain some sort of consent from the user to collect this information about their devices. However, you can give Microsoft feedback when inside the tool.

Microsoft Privacy Dashboard

Microsoft updated the Privacy Dashboard with new “Activity History” page that will show you what data was saved in the Microsoft account, essentially catching-up with Google’s “My Activity” page for search, YouTube, Android, and more. Microsoft added that you will be able to adjust the settings and change what data is collected.

In the coming months, Microsoft promised to also bring features such as:

  • View and manage media consumption data, as well as product and service activity on the Activity History page
  • Export for any of the data you see on the dashboard
  • Delete specific items to allow for greater individual control

Microsoft has already been threatened by Data Protection Authorities in the EU in regards to how it collects data on users in Windows 10. With the much stricter General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) going into effect later this spring, we’re starting to see many companies, large and small, offer users more control over the data that is collected on them as a way to become compliant with the new data protection regulation.