Notebookcheck

Windows 10 may track your app-using history even if you've deactivated it

This Settings option is a recent addition to Windows 10, and may be on by default. (Source: Windows)
This Settings option is a recent addition to Windows 10, and may be on by default. (Source: Windows)
The most recent versions of Windows 10 has an option in settings that apparently prevent the OS sending your activity history to Microsoft. However, HowToGeek has reported that these options may be insufficient in the case of app-history tracking. This information may still be collected unless every relevant privacy setting possible is modified.

Microsoft has taken some flak (much of which has been arguably warranted) for how privacy is facilitated and handled for users of Windows 10. In the past, it has emerged that the OS had added numerous activity and location-tracking modalities into the update from Windows 8 at launch, and required a deep dive into its settings to ameliorate them in accordance with the user's wishes. Now, HowToGeek has claimed that Windows 10 may still track a user's app history, and not necessarily with their knowledge either.

This tracking behavior can seemingly be turned off by navigating to the Privacy menu in Settings, clicking on 'Activity history' and de-activating all the relevant switches and check-boxes found there. However, HowToGeek reports that the additional measure of going to another Privacy sub-menu, 'Diagnostics and Feedback' and setting 'Diagnostic data' to the radio button 'Basic' is also required to ensure that Microsoft cannot track user activity.

Furthermore, the HowToGeek correspondent Chris Hoffman also reported that accessing his own 'Privacy Dashboard' (a link found to the right of the Privacy menu options) on his online Microsoft account resulted in a disturbing discovery. The history of the apps he had used were still visible - and, thus, still presumably sent to to the company - on this page. Hoffman alleged that this was in effect regardless of whether he had de-activated the tracking options as above on his PC.

This apparent lapse in user privacy was attributed to a discrepancy in the meaning of 'Activity History' between Windows' settings and a Microsoft account. Nevertheless, this is a potential data security and transparency issue that the company has a responsibility to resolve.

Working For Notebookcheck

Are you a techie who knows how to write? Then join our Team! Especially English native speakers welcome!

Currently wanted: 
News and Editorial Editor - Details here

Source(s)

static version load dynamic
Loading Comments
Comment on this article
Please share our article, every link counts!
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 12 > Windows 10 may track your app-using history even if you've deactivated it
Deirdre O Donnell, 2018-12-16 (Update: 2018-12-16)