Microsoft has released Microsoft Windows 10 as a “Windows Technical Preview”. That means that it is sort of like a beta version of Windows 10, out for testing in the real world. And yes, as part of this, they include what can be described as key-logging, or a key-logger, meaning that your keystrokes – the characters that you type – are recorded as you are typing them.
This is for the purpose of the 3 Ts of Beta: testing, troubleshooting, and tweaking, and Microsoft makes it clear in their Privacy Statements for Windows Technical Preview that they will do this:
“Data We Collect
Microsoft collects many kinds of information in a variety of ways in order to operate effectively and provide you the best products, services and experiences we can. We may combine this data with information that is linked to your user ID, such as information contained in your Microsoft account.
When you acquire, install and use the Program, Microsoft collects information about you, your devices, applications and networks, and your use of those devices, applications and networks. Examples of data we collect include your name, email address, preferences and interests; browsing, search and file history; phone call and SMS data; device configuration and sensor data; and application usage. For example, when you:
install the Program, we may collect information about your device and applications and use it for purposes such as determining or improving compatibility,
use voice input features like speech-to-text, we may collect voice information and use it for purposes such as improving speech processing,
open a file, we may collect information about the file, the application used to open the file, and how long it takes any use it for purposes such as improving performance, or
enter text, we may collect typed characters and use them for purposes such as improving autocomplete and spellcheck features.“
While of course everybody knows that nobody reads Terms of Service, at least through to the end, it can be said that there is an expectation that users who are savvy enough to want to try out – and to install – a technical preview version of an OS are more likely to understand to what they are agreeing when they agree to be, essentially, a tester.
However, that said, it can also be said that very few people probably expect their OS from a major brand to include key-logging functions.
It would perhaps be better if Microsoft include some language reassuring users that they aren’t grabbing usernames and passwords – and we would bet that they aren’t, as that would be a liability nightmare.
But still, it does make you wonder.
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