Using the Windows 10 Technical Preview? Microsoft might be watching your every move to help with feedback

Zac Bowden

Windows 10

One of the main goals with the Windows 10 Technical Preview is for Microsoft to collect feedback to help shape the final version of the operating system, which is said to be coming sometime in summer 2015. The Technical Preview requires users to register with the Windows Insider Program, which allows users to submit their own feedback about the operating system… but is Microsoft collecting more than what you think you’re submitting?

Taking a closer look at the Privacy Policy for the Windows Insider Program, it looks like Microsoft may be collecting a lot more feedback from you behind the scenes.

Microsoft collects information about you, your devices, applications and networks, and your use of those devices, applications and networks. Examples of data we collect include your name, email address, preferences and interests; browsing, search and file history; phone call and SMS data; device configuration and sensor data; and application usage.

This isn’t the only thing Microsoft is collecting from Insider Program participants. According to the Privacy Policy, the company is collecting things like text inputted into the operating system, the details of any/all files on your system, voice input and program information.

One of the more interesting bits of data the company is collecting is text entered. Some are calling this a keylogger within the Windows 10 Technical Preview, which isn’t good news, and it also isn’t true. Microsoft is collecting data on text entered as is it trying to improve auto correct within the system. One concern would be whether or not Microsoft can see when you input a password or bank details.

Is there a way to turn this feedback collecting off? We’re not sure. You could attempt to leave the Windows Insider Program, however we’re unsure if that turns off all feedback collected in the Windows 10 Technical Preview. The only way you could be sure of this is going back to Windows 8.1 for now.

Not too long ago, Mary Jo Foley from ZDNet talked about a new way Microsoft is collecting feedback. She claims Microsoft has developed a “real-time telemetry system” which can “see in near real-time what’s happening on users’ machines.” So it looks like Microsoft could be watching your every move.

This isn’t too much of a big deal for users who are casually testing the operating system, but for hardcore enthusiasts who have opted to use the Windows 10 Technical Preview as their main operating system for the time being, this could be a little worrying. It’s highly unlikely that the final version of Windows 10 will include data collection of this sort, or so we’d hope.

One of the biggest complaints with the development of Windows 8 was how Microsoft didn’t listen to feedback. Now with Windows 10, Microsoft is listening to feedback more than ever… Maybe a little too much?

Update: We must stress that the feedback being collected in the Windows Technical Preview will only occur within the Technical Preview period. Once Windows 10 launches to the public as RTM, the data Microsoft collects will be removed from the operating system. This isn’t a permanent feature within Windows 10, and therefore should not be a concern to your average Joe.

Microsoft has issued a response to WinBeta, but did not clarify anything. This is what they said:

The Windows 10 Technical Preview is a pre-release build of the OS designed for testing, evaluation and feedback. We use a variety of security technologies and procedures to help protect your personal information from unauthorized access, use or disclosure. For example, all data sent from the Windows 10 Technical Preview to Microsoft is encrypted in transit and we store the personal information you provide on computer systems that have limited access and are in controlled facilities. 

Once you download Tech Preview and become a member of the Windows Insider Program, you provide information about how you use the product, including what devices you use it with, along with your detailed feedback to make adjustments before we launch the product.