Cloud computing is one of the biggest tech innovations since the Internet began; The Cloud allows you to access any of your information wherever you have a connection. It’s the pinnacle of data sharing.
But many people don’t realise how much of their personal information will be collected and used when they sign up for new software services. Stats show that 73% of people don’t read any T&Cs all, with the rest only reading a small proportion.
Unless you specify otherwise, Microsoft gain significant rights over your data when you upgrade to Windows 10, far more than with previous versions. They can:
- pass on personal your information to third party advertisers
- sync to your other devices to show you advertising content
- allow their own personal assistant, Cortana, to return results based on the way you type or talk
Consumers don’t realise that they can choose to have Microsoft running locally instead of in The Cloud, and they can place limits on what they share with Microsoft.
Here are some basic tips for maintaining as much of your privacy online as possible when downloading Windows 10
- If you haven’t downloaded Windows 10 yet, make sure you click custom install rather than express install. This gives you the option to tailor your privacy options as you see fit, and control which of your data Microsoft has access to.
- If you’ve already installed Windows 10, you can take steps to regain your privacy. To access the main settings for Privacy, click Start, Settings, and then go to Privacy. Here, change the settings as you wish.
Privacy settings to consider:
Your Advertising ID
Microsoft collects data like every webpage you visit, your general typing and language patterns, your location history, contacts, calendar events, and every programme you’ve download. This is used to target you with highly personalised ads. If you don’t want this, just toggle off the first option. You can turn off the rest of the options in this area too if you want.
Turning off Cortana
Cortana is Microsoft’s ‘personal assistant’, designed to answer your questions in a way that’s relevant to you. To do this, the system collects lots of information about how you type, talk, and interact with the world. To turn this off, navigate to Speech, inking and typing on the sidebar and then you should see an option that says Stop getting to know me. Enable this option to stop Cortana gathering information about you. This also deletes all the historical data about you and disables Cortana permanently, unless you switch it back on.
Locations is not a new feature to Windows 10, but it’s useful to know how to keep your information local to your device. Disabling locations stops Microsoft from accessing information such as which locations you use the most apps. This stops marketers from showing you geo-targeted ads and personally tailored product placement when you visit websites.