April 5, 2017 6:00 am

Windows 10 privacy journey continues: more transparency and controls for you

Introducing three new things that will empower customers to be more informed about their privacy in Windows 10.

Terry Myerson is the EVP of the Windows and Devices Group and Marisa Rogers is the WDG Privacy Officer

Last week, we shared that the Windows 10 Creators Update will begin to roll out to our customers starting April 11, bringing new features and tools that empower the creator in each of us. We’ve talked about innovations in this update like bringing 3D creation and mixed reality to everyone, enabling every gamer to be a broadcaster, and browsing improvements in Microsoft Edge. With all these new built-in innovations, we hope it will inspire you to choose Windows to be the place you love to create and play. And yet one of our most important improvements in the Creators Update is a set of privacy enhancements that will be mostly behind the scenes.

As part of our commitment to transparency and your privacy, today we’re bringing those enhancements front and center, and sharing three new things that will help you be more informed about your privacy with Windows 10.

  1. We are improving in-product information about your privacy. With both short descriptions about each privacy setting and a “Learn More” button, we are committed to making information about your privacy choices easy to access and understand.
  2. We are updating the Microsoft privacy statement to include more information about the privacy enhancements in the Creators Update; as well as share more detail about the data we collect and use to support new features offered in this update. Like previous privacy statement updates, we will make this information available to you in a layered manner online, allowing you to progressively explore more information about your privacy choices with Windows 10. We have also summarized the key changes in Change History for Microsoft Privacy Statement.
  3. We are publishing more information about the data we collect. Our commitment to you is that we only collect data at the Basic level that is necessary to keep your Windows 10 device secure and up to date. For customers who choose the Full level, we use diagnostic data to improve Windows 10 for everyone and deliver more personalized experiences for you where you choose to let us do so. Our hope is this information will help you be more informed about the data we collect and use, enabling you to make informed choices.

For the first time, we have published a complete list of the diagnostic data collected at the Basic level. Individual data points that relate to a specific item or event are collected together and called Events. These are further organized into diagnostic areas. We are also providing a detailed summary of the data we collect from users at both Basic and Full levels of diagnostics.

Aside from sharing new information to inform your choices, our teams have also worked diligently since the Anniversary Update to re-assess what data is strictly necessary at the Basic level to keep Windows 10 devices up to date and secure. We looked closely at how we use this diagnostic data and strengthened our commitment to minimize data collection at the Basic level. As a result, we have reduced the number of events collected and reduced, by about half, the volume of data we collect at the Basic level.

Finally, I want to introduce Marisa Rogers, our Windows and Devices Group Privacy Officer. She champions our privacy commitments to you both inside and outside Microsoft, working with our Microsoft engineers and advocates around the world to ensure we’re delivering great experiences with privacy by design and giving you the information that puts you in control. Marisa will share more today and in the future about the privacy work we’ve done with the Creators Update and our privacy plans for future updates.

I’m proud of the team’s work here and our continued commitment to your privacy. I’m also appreciative of the great feedback we’ve received from our customers along this journey. You inspire us every day to innovate and deliver a great product that respects your privacy choices. This feedback – in line with the feedback we have received from the European Union’s Article 29 Working Party and national data protection authorities that have specifically engaged us on Windows 10 – was essential for Microsoft to identify and implement improvements in our privacy practices.

Thank you and keep the feedback coming! Take it away, Marisa.

-Terry

Privacy Refresh: What to expect with the Windows 10 Creators Update and beyond

Thanks, Terry. Before I get into the privacy details about this update and beyond, I want to first thank YOU – our customers – for your feedback and support on this journey. Our commitment to your privacy is only fully realized when we deliver on your feedback.

With the Creators Update, we’ve taken significant steps forward to help ensure you have information to make informed choices and you are in control of the personalized experiences you choose with Windows 10. Here’s what you can expect from us with this update.

First, everyone will have the opportunity to review their privacy settings. We believe it is important that you understand your choices. We’ve made this easier than ever before with clearer descriptions of each privacy setting and “Learn More” buttons that allow you to dive deeper into the information we collect and how it is used.

For those of you already running a version of Windows 10, we will deliver a notification to schedule your Creators Update and choose your privacy settings as depicted below.

The first image shows an example of how the privacy settings screen may appear to you. The actual values of the toggles on this screen will be based on your current settings in Windows 10. For example, if you previously chose to turn off location services, the toggle in this screen will be initially set to “Off” for location services.

New privacy settings screen in the Windows 10 Creators Update. An example of how the privacy settings screen may appear to you. The actual values of the toggles on this screen will be based on your current settings in Windows 10. For example, if you previously chose to turn off location services, the toggle in this screen will be initially set to “Off” for location services.

The second image shows the same screen with all toggles set to “Off” (and, in the case of diagnostics, to “Basic”).

New privacy settings screen in the Windows 10 Creators Update. An example of how the privacy settings screen may appear to you. The actual values of the toggles on this screen will be based on your current settings in Windows 10. For example, if you previously chose to turn off location services, the toggle in this screen will be initially set to “Off” for location services.

You can use the toggles to customize your choices. Additionally, at any time, you can go to Windows Settings from the Start Menu, then select Privacy, to review and change your settings and to find more details and links to the Microsoft Privacy statement.

For those of you who are setting up a new Windows 10 device for the first time or running a clean install of Windows 10, the new privacy set up experience will look like the one below.

The first image is the screen as it will first appear, with toggles showing Microsoft’s recommended settings. Each toggle provides a short description of the purpose of the setting. If you want more information about the settings, you can select the “Learn more” button. We believe the recommended settings will provide you with the richest experience and enable important Windows 10 features to operate most effectively.

New privacy set up experience for those who are setting up a new Windows 10 device for the first time or running a clean install of Windows 10. The first image is the screen as it will first appear, with toggles showing Microsoft’s recommended settings. Each toggle provides a short description of the purpose of the setting. If you want more information about the settings, you can select the “Learn more” button.

This screen will replace the “Get going fast” and “Customize settings” screens that were available in the set-up experiences for previous releases of Windows 10. You must act on this screen before using Windows 10.

The next image below shows the same screen with all toggles set to “Off” (and, in the case of diagnostics, to “Basic”). Again, each toggle provides a short description of the impact of the setting.

New privacy set up experience for those who are setting up a new Windows 10 device for the first time or running a clean install of Windows 10. This image shows the same screen with all toggles set to “Off” (and, in the case of diagnostics, to “Basic”). Again, each toggle provides a short description of the impact of the setting.

Both images of this set-up screen display options in two columns (if necessitated by your screen resolution) to avoid needing to scroll to see all the text on the screen. If you are manually setting up or upgrading to the Creators Update using advanced tools such as the Media Creation Tool, the screen display may instead use a single‑column format and may require scrolling depending on your screen size or language. These tools are intended for advanced technical users and are not recommended for most customers.

After reviewing and selecting settings, you must then take a final action to approve your choices by selecting the “Accept” button.

For those of you with mobile devices currently running Windows 10 Mobile, the key privacy choices relevant to the mobile version of the Windows 10 Creators Update will be presented after you install the update. The only difference in mobile is the “Tailored experiences with diagnostic data” setting is automatically turned off for all customers and is not presented as an option on the privacy screen due to limitations of the mobile platform.

New privacy settings screen for Windows 10 Mobile customers in the Windows 10 Creators Update.
New privacy settings screen for Windows 10 Mobile customers in the Windows 10 Creators Update.

The Journey Continues

We are on a journey with you and fully committed to putting you in control and providing the information you need to make informed decisions about your privacy. The Windows 10 Creators Update is a significant step forward, but by no means the end of our journey.

In future updates, we will continue to refine our approach and implement your feedback about data collection and privacy controls. We are committed to helping ensure you have access to even more information and can review and delete data we collect via the Microsoft privacy dashboard. This month, we will bring voice data to this dashboard, so you can review the data we have which improves Cortana’s ability to naturally respond to your requests as your personal digital assistant.

We will also share more information about how we will ensure Windows 10 is compliant with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation and how using Windows 10 and other Microsoft products will help our enterprise customers with compliance in their environments.

I look forward to a continued dialogue with you and advocacy organizations around the world and welcome you to contact me and my privacy team with your feedback here.

-Marisa

Updated April 10, 2017 10:48 pm