Microsoft Previews New Privacy Screen For Windows Insiders

Microsoft has gotten into some hot water in the EU over its Windows 10 privacy policy and the general way in which it presents (or doesn’t present) users with the options they need to turn off tracking. With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) going into effect this May, Microsoft seems to have prepared an overhaul of its privacy settings screen.

New Privacy Screen Available For Windows Insiders

Microsoft has already made available the new privacy screen in today’s build for Windows Insiders. However, the company warned that not everyone will see the same single-page privacy setup during the Windows installation process, as pictured above. Some users will see each privacy setting on its own separate screen, so it looks like Microsoft may be still experimenting with different formats.

In the example below, you can see that the "Find my device" setting has its own screen. Microsoft recommended users to click yes if you want to be able to find your device when you lose it. It doesn’t say anywhere on the page whether or not Microsoft will also be able to use that location data for something else, such as advertising.

However, at least in the EU, Microsoft would have to obtain consent if the data was used in any other way than mentioned or if it wasn’t clear to the user that the data would be used for more than just finding the device. It may still be worth checking that “Learn more” button at the bottom of the screen if you’re worried Microsoft intends to use the data in other ways.

For the users who see the “Find my device” setting on a single page, Microsoft will also show a separate page to enable improved inkling and typing recognition. Microsoft said that when you enable this setting you help the company improve the suggestion capabilities of applications such as handwriting recognition, autocompletion, next word prediction, and spelling correction. However, you may also want to consider the privacy implications of sending Microsoft your typing information before you jump in.

New Windows 10 Build Coming This Spring

A new version of Windows 10 is expected to arrive later this spring, and that’s when Microsoft said everyone will be able to see the new privacy screen at installation. Additionally, Microsoft noted that after installation, you will still be able to go to Start > Settings > Privacy and modify your privacy settings there at any time.

Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.