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Windows 10 data harvesting not a privacy concern, says VP

Back in July, when Microsoft first released Windows 10, some folks noticed how the operating system is gathering a lot of information about the user’s behaviour and, obviously, it freaked them out.

The media started buzzing about it for two apparent reasons: one is the recently uncovered US government surveillance programme, and the other one is the fact that Microsoft wasn’t collecting such a vast amount of data with previous versions of the OS.

Microsoft was also of little help at the time, being slow to react and to explain first why it needs the data, and secondly how to stop the OS from getting it.

The situation is now somewhat better, with users knowing how to control their computer. However, there is still data the OS is collecting, and the user has no control over it. Microsoft calls it basic telemetry, and the company’s Corporate Vice President Joe Belfiore said in an interview that that data harvesting does not represent a privacy concern.

"And in the case of knowing that our system that we've created is crashing, or is having serious performance problems, we view that as so helpful to the ecosystem, and so not an issue of personal privacy, that today, we collect that data so that we make that experience better for everyone," he said.

"And in the cases where we've not provided options, we feel that those things have to do with the health of the system, and are not personal information or are not related to privacy," he said.

"We're going to continue to listen to what the broad public says about these decisions, and ultimately our goal is to balance the right thing happening for the most people -- really, for everyone -- with complexity that comes with putting in a whole lot of control," Belfiore said.