A reasonable amount of time has passed since Windows 10 came out, but I only got to try it recently and I really want to share my thoughts with you, dear readers. Make no mistake, this isn’t a review, this is a (late) rant about Microsoft’s data mining strategies and how they got implemented Windows 10.
The first thing that caught my eye is that Windows 10 is essentially free, at least for the first year, but instead of just biting the bait I did some research, what I found out equals up to blasphemy. First of all, nothing on the internet is ever free, there is always a catch. The best example I can give you is games, more specifically the so called Free to Play games, every time we see a new one pop-up in either Steam or somewhere else in the deep, deep webs of the internet we always know that there will be some sort of catch. They try to sell us things that vary from game lives to in-game power-ups and items that eventually make us among the most powerful players in the said game. If we’re lucky, it might just be cosmetics, but it’s important to remember that it never really is free.
Microsoft have decided to take advantage of the most valuable asset on the internet, information. Anyone who uses Windows 10 has probably noticed that it makes you share an unimaginable amount of your own, personal information with Microsoft, including your location, names, passwords, etc., it’s just remarkable how many people don’t even give it a second thought before giving that information away. What Microsoft don’t make obvious to you is that on top of collecting every bit of personal info about you and your computer’s users is that they also collect and store all kinds of statistics and files from your computer. Think about that for a minute, if you don’t believe us, you can check for yourself, it’s stated in their own “Terms of Service” agreement. They also say that any information that might be considered dangerous will be handed to the proper authorities for investigation. You got nothing to fear if you’re not a criminal, right? Well, wrong. All the information they collect is packets of data flowing through the internet for anybody to steal one way or another. Sure, you can say it’s encoded or encrypted all you want, but we all know it’s just a matter of time until someone finds a way to decrypt that information and use it for personal gain.
It isn’t stated anywhere exactly how much of your information is being collected. Some people on the internet have even argued that Windows keylogs everything you type, we know for a fact that all of what you say to Cortana is sent to Microsoft. Imagine every password, every important document and every piece of information about your credit card, social security number etc., being sent to Microsoft, they even go as far as saying that all information resembling passwords and credit card numbers will be deleted and is accidentally collected with the shitcluster of other things they collect.
It is beyond me how something like this is legal, first of all we know that there are keyloggers in Windows 10, but we aren’t certain to what extent they collect information. There are integrated diagnostic tools that collect much more than system diagnostics and there are telemetry tools which collect information to an unconfirmed level as well. I can go on and on about how much information Microsoft collects from you. It isn’t something “conspiracy theorists” made up, it’s based on cold hard facts, you just need to do a bit of research. From people on Reddit to people on programming forums, everyone agrees that Microsoft are invading our personal lives a tad too much this time.
What can this information be used for though? That is the real question. First it’s obvious they can hand it out to the government as they’ve stated in their legal agreement and secondly they want to know what sort of advertisements to aim at you, but I really doubt that’s all of it. Microsoft are a big corporation and as such their main goal is to make money. There are tons of other ways to make money with information, there are loads of companies, groups and individuals willing to pay more than enough for the information you “willingly” handed over to Microsoft.
Even if we do decide to trust Microsoft, even then there are too many ways for third parties to exploit their data collection tools, this was the thing that drew the line for me, you know, I could’ve lived my life knowing Microsoft knew about every time I ever took a shit or had sex, but the problem is that all of the information, as I have mentioned before, can be illegally obtained by third-parties.
There have always been security flaws and backdoors in Windows, but this time they’re more than ever. Every single tool they use has exploits, every program has exploits, it’s usually a matter of time until someone gets to that information, to your information. Remember the Apple scandal, where thousands of accounts were hacked and compromising pictures of celebrities were made public. No one ever thought that could happen, but it did. Don’t think for a second your information is safe because Microsoft promised you to keep it safe. Shit can happen and shit does happen. Being cautious is being aware of possible danger and doing everything you can to avoid it, being paranoid is having an irrational suspicion of something. In this case we should be cautious, not paranoid.
Moral of the story is: Do not upgrade to Windows 10, do a little research first.