Microsoft Introduces New Privacy Tools For Windows Insiders

Ahead of the January 28 “Data Protection/Privacy Day," Microsoft announced new privacy tools for Windows 10 that Windows Insiders can now access. Microsoft will also revamp the Privacy Dashboard to let you manage the data that is tied to your Microsoft account.

Windows Diagnostics Data Viewer

Microsoft has long been criticized over both the type of telemetry data as well as the amounts of such data that it constantly collects about its users and their PCs. The company is now offering users a way to see all the diagnostics data that the company receives from you with the The Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer. According to the company, you will be able to see, search, and take action with your diagnostic data.

The diagnostic data presented in the menu will include:

Common Data, like the Operating System’s name, the Version, Device ID, Device Class, Diagnostic level selection and so on.Device Connectivity and Configuration such as device properties and capabilities, preferences and settings, peripherals, and device network information.Product and Service Performance data that show device health, performance and reliability data, movie consumption functionality on the device and device file queries. It’s important to note that this functionality is not intended to capture user viewing or, listening habits.Product and Service Usage data includes details about the usage of the device, operating system, applications, and services.Software Setup and Inventory such as installed applications and install history, device update information.

It’s not clear yet to what extent you will be able to stop Microsoft from collecting this type of information about your device, because in the EU, Microsoft still has to obtain some sort of consent from the user to collect this information about their devices. However, you can give Microsoft feedback when inside the tool.

Microsoft Privacy Dashboard

Microsoft updated the Privacy Dashboard with new “Activity History” page that will show you what data was saved in the Microsoft account, essentially catching-up with Google’s “My Activity” page for search, YouTube, Android, and more. Microsoft added that you will be able to adjust the settings and change what data is collected.

In the coming months, Microsoft promised to also bring features such as:

View and manage media consumption data, as well as product and service activity on the Activity History pageExport for any of the data you see on the dashboardDelete specific items to allow for greater individual control

Microsoft has already been threatened by Data Protection Authorities in the EU in regards to how it collects data on users in Windows 10. With the much stricter General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) going into effect later this spring, we’re starting to see many companies, large and small, offer users more control over the data that is collected on them as a way to become compliant with the new data protection regulation.

Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.
  • Math Geek
    could be interesting if the EU users get a different control panel with more options.

    will quickly make its way to users outside the EU. gonna be an interesting cat and mouse game as people decide if they are bothered or not by MS watching over your shoulder 24/7
  • dextermat
    Too little too late and does not look user friendly at all. Just like BSOD log. Look like you can see details but not prevent the "leak" It just tells you what service telemetry is working. No sigh of what data is transferred or anything.
  • Math Geek
    it's a start though. could also be a good bit of smoke and mirrors to keep the various governments off their backs. if they show a list of innocent data they have collected and "forget" to include everything they collect, the gov's may be pacified enough to not pursue them as strongly.

    we've seen it before with many other companies in the past. they pretend to comply even though they maintain the were never doing it in the first place and then everyone forgets about them and moves on. sad but it works all the time.
  • Rock_n_Rolla
    We here at Microsoft, our users computer use and online behavior are our most priority thats why we bring you a new privacy tool that complies with safety and online privacy regulating body where they wont know that this new tool is our new way tracking you so we can evade new penalties and sanctions they might inflict.

    We just reinvented the wheel to bring the same shit to you so no matter what you do we can keep track of you the moment you go online way better than Google do.

    Thank you for using our new Microsoft Windows operating system.

    ...Nice walk around to avoid law suits Microsoft LOL!
  • Ilya__
    @Rock_n_Rolla If you think MS can track of your data better than Google you are making a mistake. Given that Google knows where you are at all times via Android phones, what you search via Google search engine, who you communicate with via Gmail, list goes on. Finally, how much of MS revenue is made from personal data mining + advertising? About 5-6%. Google on the other hand about 75%. So, who is really in the business of collecting your data?
  • Rock_n_Rolla
    It depends dude, why would some online data privacy regulating body would a make very serious threats about penalizing or suing them if da first place if they arent found guilty of exploiting users computer use and online behavior??