The world’s biggest spyware installation ever is underway, right now. PC users, if you haven’t installed it already then it’s in your system tray, waiting for the opportunity. I’ve indicated the icon below for you.
Yup, that’s correct, Microsoft want to load your computer with the spyware package from hell, and call it Windows 10.
Remember the fuss when Apple loaded the (then) new U2 album on everyone’s iDevices? It may have been without charge, but it was also without permission.
Microsoft do, in this case, ask for your permission to download & install Win 10 on your computer, just like the U2 album, it’s free. Unlike the U2 album though, there’s a catch. Your privacy is gone. In a massive way, it’s gone. Areas you wouldn’t even think of, invaded by this huge spyware infestation masquerading as a free gift.
Luckily for you, Megabyte is a bit concerned at corporate privacy invasion & spends inordinate amounts of time investigating how to keep their noses out of our business. And then reports his findings back here for your benefit. Because Windows 10 ain’t too bad – it’s certainly no ME/Vista/8 type nightmare – you’re probably going to want to use it.
Look, Microsoft made Bill Gates’ fortune. He’s given over half of it away yet he’s still “The World’s Richest Man” – so that company knows how to make money. Granted, they’ve had some royal fuck-ups along the way, but they’re still the dominant OS provider. Microsoft has changed their financial model with Windows 10 – this time it’s a no charge install, a la the freemium model pioneered by phone app developers.
Previously, you paid once and that was it. With Win 10 it’s a forced delivery that presents as free. Then you start paying, and continue to until, well, until the 12th of never. For example, the Solitaire game is now ad-supported, therefore income-producing, unless you want to pay $9.99/year for ad-free. There’s more, much more.
But first, a quick rant…
<rant>I cannot believe that Windows still hides known file suffixes by default. This means that you can still – after all these years – have a file appear to be something other that what it really is. Fucking nuts. In the example above, the user would open what appears to be an innocent text file – which is really a malicious executable program. Stink. One of the very first things I always do (and have always done) is to change the File View option – Show File Extensions. It’s beyond me why any other option is available.</rant>
Now, back to the privacy concerns. It’s a fully 12,000 word service agreement that we’re expected to wade through. Try this (not) random paragraph for size:
“Finally, we will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to: 1.comply with applicable law or respond to valid legal process, including from law enforcement or other government agencies; 2.protect our customers, for example to prevent spam or attempts to defraud users of the services, or to help prevent the loss of life or serious injury of anyone; 3.operate and maintain the security of our services, including to prevent or stop an attack on our computer systems or networks; or 4.protect the rights or property of Microsoft, including enforcing the terms governing the use of the services – however, if we receive information indicating that someone is using our services to traffic in stolen intellectual or physical property of Microsoft, we will not inspect a customer’s private content ourselves, but we may refer the matter to law enforcement.”
Spooky? You don’t think? I sure do. Shit like this is precisely why I fight back. Computers are an essential life tool, to booby-trap them in such an insidious manner is atrocious behaviour. Capitalism at its repugnant finest, taking a fine achievement in engineering then crippling it thru advertisements.
Ok, here we go. Upon a fresh installation, Win 10 is going to walk you through several screens, asking you to either rapidly approve MS’s handily-chosen & recommended selection set or manually trudge your way through pages of selections worded so cleverly that you’d be almost sure to interpret the opposite of what they’re saying.
But manually it needs to be, just do it. You’ll be doing yourself a favour by selecting a Local Account instead of the Microsoft User Account. Read those pages yourself, say no to letting apps use your data, and look – “personalised advertising experiences” are a stupid thing to opt for. MS will spy on your every move, what you do & where you go. The data gathered will be sold out to advertisers who, desperate to recover their investment, will pump your Windows device so full of ads you’ll think it’s a mathematics conference. What I’m saying here is “Just Say No” to everything.
So then, after you’ve done that bit yourself and Windows has completed installing, there’s a bit more to do yet. In the system tray, you’ll see the notifications icon – highlighted in the image below. Clicking that give you access to the Action Center, which is the new Control Panel. Go through that, carefully. Say No to any & everything that involves “sharing” – including the WiFi Sense feature, which investigates who your Facebook friends are, aggregates that info with GeoLoc data to figure out which of them comes to your house, then gives them your WiFi login!! It’s not actually such a bad idea, everyone sharing a few UFB connections rather than all of us paying extortionate rates to fat-ass Telcos, it’s just that we’re not ready for that kind of social sharing.
Here’s the screenshots, one by one.
Express settings by Microsoft? No thank you.
Off, Off, Off, Off.
Send my information to Microsoft? Let me think about that…
That’s right, skip the MIcrosoft Account. Keep it local.
Use my advertising ID for experiences? Fuck off.
Why do you need to know that for, Microsoft?
Ok, on the same subject, you should press Win+X for Admin Command Prompt, then copy/paste the following:
sc delete DiagTrack sc delete dmwappushservice echo "" > C:ProgramDataMicrosoftDiagnosisETLLogsAutoLoggerAutoLogger-Diagtrack-Listener.etl reg add "HKLMSOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindowsDataCollection" /v AllowTelemetry /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f
That little reg hack turns their Telemetry Data Collection off.
Siri doesn’t work for Apple, why would Cortana be expected to for Microsoft?
WiFi Sense makes no sense
Fuck off, I’ll use my own 3rd-party AV solution
If you’ve got several computers on the same network, consider leaving this on for the local option only
Give you feedback? Well, I’ve got nothing else better to do…
Nah, I’m quite happy keeping our relationship non-personal
Here’s the settings for Edge, the new web browser. I suggest you stick with Chrome or Opera.
That’ll do for the moment. If you’re lucky I’ll make some downloadable .reg files for instant goodness on your Win 10 PC.
EDIT: Check my Downloads page for my simple, cut & paste solution to Windows 10 data sharing.