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Microsoft comes under fire for Windows 10 default settings

Microsoft has achieved quite a success with the new Windows 10 operating system, which was installed on some 14 million devices in the first 24 hours.

However, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies for the American software giants, as they came under heavy attack by those criticising certain default settings.

These settings send personal information to Microsoft, use bandwidth to upload data to other computers running the operating system, share Wi-Fi passwords with online friends and remove the ability to opt out of security updates.

Some complaints are linked to Microsoft’s way it handles advertising. When the OS is installed, Microsoft assigns the user a unique advertising ID, which it ties to the email address registered with the company. Using the ID, Microsoft can tailor user-specific ad programs, for both surfing an app usage.

Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, is also collecting large amounts of private data it needs to operate properly. We’ve written a tutorial on how to turn it off.

Users are given the option to turn these features off, but critics say these options aren’t clear enough:

Alec Meer, of gaming website Rock Paper Shotgun, says: “Microsoft simply aren’t making it clear enough that they’re doing this, how it might affect you and how to opt out – despite chest-thumping, we’re-all-chums-here talk about how ‘real transparency starts with straightforward terms and policies that people can clearly understand’.

“There is no world in which 45 pages of policy documents and opt-out settings split across 13 different Settings screens and an external website constitutes ‘real transparency’.”

The European digital rights organisation (EDRi) sums up the company’s 45 pages of terms and conditions by saying: “Microsoft basically grants itself very broad rights to collect everything you do, say and write with and on your devices in order to sell more targeted advertising or to sell your data to third parties,” The Guardian writes in a report.