Microsoft Collects User Data In Windows 10 Technical Preview

Is Microsoft watching your every move on the recently-released Windows 10 Technical Preview? That may be the case thanks to portions of Microsoft's privacy policy, which indicates that the company is using a keylogger, among other methods, to obtain information about the software's performance. This is likely one of the reasons why Microsoft insists that Windows Technical Preview not be installed on computers that are used every day.

"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," the privacy policy stated. "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."

Microsoft provided four examples, one of which clearly states that when entering text into any application, Microsoft may collect those typed characters. Why? So that the company can fine-tune the spell check and auto-complete features. Again, the Technical Preview is not ideal on machines used for everyday purposes unless users don't care about this "character collection."

Microsoft also revealed that when users open a file, the company collects information about the file, the program that opens the file and how long it takes to open said file. Microsoft claims that it uses this information to improve performance and more. Microsoft also collects information about programs that are installed -- including the device they are installed on -- and uses that information to determine and improve Windows 10's compatibility with those programs.

The company acknowledges that it may collect voice information if the customer uses voice input features, such as speech-to-text. This information will be used to improve speech processing, Microsoft revealed.

"Microsoft uses data we collect from the Program to operate, improve and personalize the Program and other Microsoft products and services," the privacy policy stated. "Some data is stored on your device and some data is transmitted to Microsoft. Microsoft shares some data with our partners to improve how their products and services work with Microsoft's products and services."

According to Microsoft, the user's contact information is only used to contact that customer, whereas the preferences are used to configure Program features. Under Disclosure of Data, Microsoft states that it will only share the data with the user's consent. Microsoft also states that the company will "share or disclose information about you with other Microsoft-controlled subsidiaries and affiliates, and with vendors or agents working on our behalf."

The bottom line is that individuals wanting to give the Windows Technical Preview a spin will need to be aware that their data and software usage may be used and provided to other parties. We've reached out to Microsoft for comment.

Follow Kevin Parrish @exfileme. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.