Windows 10 defaults to keylogging, harvesting browser history, purchases, and covert listening

By default, Microsoft gets to see your location, keystrokes and browser history -- and listen to your microphone, and some of that stuff is shared with "trusted [by Microsoft, not by you] partners."

You can turn this all off, of course, by digging through screen after screen of "privacy" dashboards, navigating the welter of tickboxes that serve the same purposes as all those clean, ration-seeming lines on the craps table: to complexify the proposition so you can't figure out if the odds are in your favor.

Oh, and if you've already chosen to use Firefox as your default browser, Microsoft overrides your decision when you "upgrade" and switches you to the latest incarnation of the immortal undead monster formerly known as Internet Explorer.

Under "Personalization," the first setting tailors your "speech, typing and inking input" to the way you talk, type and write ... "by sending contacts and calendar details, along with other associated input data to Microsoft." The next setting sends typing and inking data to Microsoft to "improve the recognition and suggestion platform."

Some people may be comfortable with this usage; after all, third-party smartphone keyboards like SwiftKey improve their autocorrect functionality by learning how you type. But for others, sharing "contacts and calendar details" may be a bridge too far.

Next is a rather nebulous entry: "Let apps use your advertising ID for experiences across apps." What this sentence doesn't quite explain is that Windows 10 generates a unique advertising ID for each user. If this option is enabled, it allows app developers and ad networks to profile you using that ID and serve you ads based on how you use your PC.

The final part of the first settings page concerns location. Your computer may not have a GPS radio in it like your smartphone does, but if you're connected to the internet, your location can be tracked through your IP address. With this option enabled, you're allowing Windows and apps to request your location, including your location history. That's useful for location-based services like, say, telling a retailer's website where you are so it can give you the address of the nearest store.

Windows 10 is spying on almost everything you do – here’s how to opt out [Zach Epstein/BGR]

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