People, in general, just don’t like change. There’s something to be said about the familiar, about knowing how and why something works. And when a newer version of something we already love comes out, it’s inevitable that we’ll start to pick apart the differences, to weigh the pros and cons and pass judgment as to whether or not this new thing is really better.
That’s why it was no surprise that the announcement and later launch of the Windows 10 operating system was met with a lot of skepticism. The tech industry as a whole has a long history of amazing advancements, but it’s had a lot of crash-and-burn fiascos as well. But one of the things that critics immediately despised about this latest OS from Microsoft was what they considered compromised privacy.
Like much of the shift towards cloud-based storage and operation, software as a service, and other similar connected innovations, Windows 10 made some pretty steep privacy demands from its users, especially where their data was concerned. Requiring automatic access to your computer was only one of the issues; obscurely worded user agreements also hinted that Microsoft could access your data and your files and use them however they see fit, including in accordance with turning them over to government oversight groups.
But that’s not what some security experts are saying now.
First of all, there’s a clear distinction between your files and the content of your files. While that might sound like hair-splitting to the nth degree, it actually means that Microsoft can access your data usage if you specifically uploaded your files to its OneDrive, but the tech giant cannot get into your computer through Windows 10 and dig around in your content. Even if you did upload your content to OneDrive, the company still does nothing with your content, only with your file size and usage.
Next, there were concerns over Microsoft’s wording in an agreement that basically said it reserves the right to access your computer and disable any unauthorized programs, even ones that you put on your computer yourself. Again, it’s all in the wording. This statement refers to apps and systems like the Xbox, not your Windows 10 computer. That particular agreement wasn’t even referring to Windows 10, but due to their ability to do this, some critics assumed it would happen across the board. They also overlooked the proposed idea that this was a safety measure intended to shut down malicious apps, and not a way to control what consumers can do with their computers.
When corporations want our information in order for their products to work, we have to decide whether we can trust the organization to follow through with its promises of data protection, or else build our consumer relationships with companies that will.