One of the big complaints that you hear from users about Windows, and frankly many online services, is that your privacy is in jeopardy by using search engines and web browsers. With the release of Windows 10, there has also been push-back about the data that Microsoft collects while you are using the OS.
Announced today, Microsoft is introducing a new online privacy dashboard and with the Creators update coming in April, there will be a new privacy setup experience that will simplify the process to block or allow data collection across its services.
The new privacy dashboard, that you can view here, makes it much easier to review and clear out data Microsoft has collected related to search history, location activity and Cortana’s Notebook. This online dashboard is the company’s first steps in giving you more control over the data Microsoft collects across all of its services; the information stored by the company’s services is linked to your Microsoft account.
With the Creators update, the new onboarding experience replaces the Express Settings and it looks slightly different depending on if you are upgrading or doing a clean install but the end result is the screen you see below that gives you more control over your privacy with the OS.
When you turn the options off, the screen is updated to show you what features this will disable from the OS.
Privacy is an interesting aspect of the modern web and services that we all use. On one hand, we want our digital assistants to be smart and proactive but to do this we have to sacrifice privacy. For most, this is a simple tradeoff but the big concern is that if you ever change your mind and wish to not have these services catalog your life, you can’t go and remove the data that has been stored.
What Microsoft is trying to do is to make its services more transparent and give the user more control of the data the company has collected, or may collect in the future, which will help those who are privacy-minded use Windows 10 and other Microsoft services. What will be interesting to see is if other companies follow suite and give options like this for deleting your data from their services.