It was recently revealed that Facebook plays pretty fast and loose with user data and privacy. This got me wondering about the other large players that we so readily share our information with. Some of them are now providing tools to allow us to look up what information they are gathering about us.
I was able to look up what Microsoft is tracking and collecting about me and found the following:
– My current and past locations for the past 30 days. Apparently I’m pretty boring as the locations only include my work or home addresses.
– the Apps I open on Windows 10
– My recorded voice commands to my phone when using it via Bluetooth in my vehicle (no conversations, just my commands to the phone such as “read it” or “I’m finished”
– my Edge browser search results going back at least 6 months
– songs or movies I played with Groove
I’m a bit alarmed to see some of this data being captured and recorded but Microsoft does provide instructions to assist in modifying your computer privacy settings to limit and restrict what you are willing to share with them.
If you want to learn what Microsoft knows about you, visit their Microsoft Activity History page. You will need to login with your Microsoft Account credentials. Click on Activity History to see a list of information Microsoft has collected and is tracking. You can download this list if you like; just click on Download your data, Create New Archive. Download to your computer and extract to a folder. Open each of the files with Word to see the contents.
If you wish to restrict some of the information you are sharing with Microsoft, click on Overview. For each category, there is an option to View and Clear History. You can also change your search tracking by clicking on View and Change your search settings. There are a number of other links that will take you to settings for various applications where you can restrict what you share.
I’d say Facebook has collected a lot more information on users, but Microsoft may be tracking more than you care to share. Follow the above steps to protect your user data and privacy, or reach out to our team if you need us to provide you with some assistance.
Bill Boisvenue, President
BSC Solutions Group Ltd.
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