Recent developments suggest that Microsoft is making strides in enhancing privacy for Windows 11 users in Europe. The changes were first noticed in an older preview build of Windows 11, but the significance became clearer with the release of Microsoft’s Copilot AI, which is not available to some European countries due to stringent privacy regulations.
The initial indication of this shift was spotted by Windows Latest in a preview build from August 2023, known as build 23521, released in the Dev channel. The blog post introducing this build revealed that in the European Economic Area (EEA), Windows would now require user consent to share data between Windows and other Microsoft services.
Microsoft is now in the process of conducting tests on the integration of privacy consent in the preview build of Windows 11 23H2. However, there seems to be an issue with its proper functionality, Windows Latest reported.
The consent is set to be a part of more Windows features in future builds.
Microsoft also stated that if users in the EEA decline this consent, certain Windows features may become unavailable. The shift has raised questions about the fine line between recommendations and advertisements and how flexible this line might be.
The European data-sharing consent appears to be an ongoing process still being rolled out to testers. It hasn’t yet reached all users in the region.
A notable link to this privacy shift can be observed with the introduction of Copilot AI, which has been officially launched for Windows 11. However, its availability is presently restricted to specific regions owing to the rigorous privacy regulations imposed by the EU.
However, the company is actively working on a version of Copilot that complies with EU laws, ensuring that European Windows 11 users will have access to this AI assistant soon.
It is speculated that Copilot could be one of the features connected to this data-sharing consent measure currently in testing. The tech giant’s proactive approach to addressing privacy concerns in the region suggests that the groundwork for these changes was laid well in advance in anticipation of evolving privacy regulations.