How Microsoft Is Spying On You Hundreds Of Times A Day

Written by David Richards + Fortune Syndication     11/02/2016 | 08:09 | Category: INDUSTRY

If you are running Windows 10 Microsoft is spying on you hundreds of times a day, claims the experts, and even when you disable their tracking software they will still spy on you.

How Microsoft Is Spying On You Hundreds Of Times A Day
Back when SmartHouse first identified problems that were set to emerg with the free issue of the Windows 10 OS, Microsoft PR spin doctors Ogilvy PR claimed our story was inaccurate. And this was even, before the product was launched. 

Three months ago Microsoft finally confirmed that they were using what has been labelled as "extensive telemetry", another description is out and out spying. 

What no-one realised until now, is just how extensive and to the extent that Microsoft has gone to strip information from your PC. 

Blowing the lid on it this week a security expert on Voat called CheesusCrust who has conducted an extensive investigation of Microsoft practises, found that Windows 10 automatically contacts Microsoft to report information regarding actions undertaken on your PC thousands of times per day. 

This happens he claims even when you have disabled all three pages of Microsoft's tracking options which are enabled by default.

The raw numbers come out as follows: in an eight-hour period Windows 10 tried to send data back to 51 different Microsoft IP addresses over 5500 times. 

After 30 hours of use, Windows 10 expanded that data reporting to 113 non-private IP addresses. Being non-private means there is the potential for hackers to intercept this data. I'd argue this is the greatest cost to owning Windows 10 he claims. 

Taking this a step further, the testing was then repeated on another Windows 10 clean installation again with all data tracking options disabled and third party tool DisableWinTracking was also installed which tries to shut down all hidden Windows 10 data reporting attempts. 

At the end of the 30-hour period Windows 10 had still managed to phone home with data 2758 times to 30 different IP addresses.

The full tabulated results can be seen on the user's Voat thread.

These tests were conducted using Windows 10 Enterprise Edition - the version of Windows 10 with most granular level of user control and far more than the standard Windows 10 Home edition used by most consumers. 

All of which confirms, this controversial data tracking simply cannot be stopped. 

The obvious first reaction to this might be to panic and scream about class action lawsuits, but it's a little more complicated than that.

Firstly, the Windows 10 EULA (end user licence agreement) which very few users ever read, gives Microsoft full legal rights to do this. 

Secondly Microsoft has made several attempts to stress that the telemetry and data tracking aspects to Windows 10 are essential to its ongoing maintenance and improvement.

Speaking in November, Microsoft Corporate Vice President Joe Belfiore said: "In the cases where we've not provided options [to disable tracking], we feel that those things have to do with the health of the system.In the case of knowing that our system that we've created is crashing, or is having serious performance problems, we view that as so helpful to the ecosystem and so not an issue of personal privacy, that today we collect that data so that we make that experience better for everyone."

He also stressed: "We're going to continue to listen to what the broad public says about these decisions, and ultimately our goal is to balance the right thing happening for the most people - really, for everyone - with the complexity that comes with putting in a whole lot of control."

And yes, of course, the problem here is one of scale. 

For most users essential "health of the system" will not tally with Windows 10 making thousands of data connections every day to over 100 Microsoft IP addresses. And, more to the point, even if all this data sharing is somehow vital then Microsoft has made no attempt to explain why or divulge the processes at play.

Microsoft's comments on this issue "I'm afraid we are not able to provide a comment on this."