• Microsoft walks a thin line between Windows 10 telemetry and snooping

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    And the situation’s becoming more dire as MS uses Win10 techniques in Win7 and 8.1. InfoWorld Woody on Windows
    [See the full post at: Microsoft walks a thin line between Windows 10 telemetry and snooping]

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    • #47981


      will also work for windows 10
      what is important is to turn off targeted
      tasks in task scheduler especially
      Application Experience and Customer Experience
      Improvement Program tasks by deleting them
      otherwise they will continue to run even if you have opted out of data collection.
      Hope this helps, Jon

    • #47982

      Excellent and fair article Woody regarding Win 10 data collection. I guess one takeaway would be “when the product is free, you are the product”. I do not want to get into all the back and forth details about what MS is doing or not doing; however, I personally do not view it as being benign as the very design construct of Win 10 is intrusive. I find comparisons to Google snooping of online searches not very compelling as it is more naturally “bounded” by the manner in which I employ their search engine. In the case of Win 10 it is the entire OS and hence covers the user’s entire computing environment. Although I generally approve of regulatory action as an absolute last resort, I do see early parallels to the way we got the Federal Communications and Federal Wire Fraud Acts. In the early days of telephone, eavesdropping on party and private lines was quite common, This occurred for a variety of reasons ranging from personal nosiness to commercial espionage. Once it became apparent that virtually everyone needed a telephone to conduct the requirements of daily living, a new regulatory doctrine was set forth, namely, the telephone company owned the phone and the communication line but they had no legal interest in the communications transmitted. Hence, communications could no longer be eavesdropped without someone obtaining a court order from a judge having jurisdiction. The Federal Wire Fraud Act worked in tandem to prohibit any “artifice or device to deprive a party to the honest use of communication services”. Now we are in the relatively brave new world of the internet where it is increasingly difficult to conduct one’s affairs without a computer with an OS and an ISP. This is rapidly becoming the new telephone and increasingly we are seeing the types of unregulated behaviors by commercial parties that led to a recognized need to legally circumscribe what is kosher and what is not. I fear we are drifting toward some type of regulatory umbrella if this crap continues because after all the internet is at its core just another venue for two way communication and providing an OS should not confer on the provider an unlimited privilege to intercept and store such communication.

    • #47983

      Well put.

    • #47984

      All these shenanigans with Win 10, and in particular MS’s various messings with Win 7, have been the last straw, and I am now a happy Linux Mint user. Way to go Microsoft! I stuck with you since Windows 3.0 (yeah, ok, I skipped Vista), but I have a feeling they actually don’t want pesky customers like me who want control over their OS.

    • #47985

      @Jon Macker,

      Earlier tonight I was reading through the helpful information at your Superuser link, double-checking their lists (of windows-update patches not to download and of task-scheduler tasks to disable) against mine. To my knowledge, I have avoided installing all the patches they listed, and I had already disabled most of the tasks they listed.

      While I was going through the items on my task scheduler, I came across a task called “Windows Activation Technologies” that has been dormant on my Windows 7 laptop for its entire life (of 2.5 years) until 6 weeks ago, and suddenly the task has started up and has scheduled itself to recur every 90 days.
      (This task is not one of those mentioned in the Superuser information gathered at your link, as far as I could see.)

      I described the task here: https://www.askwoody.com/2010/happening-windows-7s-windows-activation-technologies/comment-page-1/#comment-72390.

      I realize that the subject of Woody’s present blog post and of your comment above is Windows 10, but I thought I’d relate my experience of that newly-awoken task here, in case it might be something other folks with Windows 7 who are battling to protect their systems from unwanted changes/breaches would want to keep an eye on.
      (If anyone understands why this task has whirred to life and thinks that it would harm my computer if I disabled it, I’d appreciate hearing their thoughts.)

    • #47986


      The InfoWorld article speaks to Win 10.

      Above you commented “And the situation’s becoming more dire as MS uses Win10 techniques in Win7 and 8.1.”

      This forum has already had plenty of discussion about the back-porting of Win10 data gathering.

      How has the situation changed to provoke this warning?

    • #47987

      There have been comments in Win7 KB articles that talk about installing Win10 style monitoring in Win7 and Win 8.1. To date, I haven’t seen any detailed analyses of what’s been injected, but fully expect that some of the Win10 techniques are moving to Win7 and Win 8.1. It’s possible that the “Windows Activation Technologies” task described in comments to this post are part of the, er, infection. I’ll be keeping an eye on it.

    • #47988

      I too am finding this task active on my Win7 machines (but has no record of running on Win8) The last time it was run was in the Nov 2015 time frame and it’s scheduled to run again in Feb and Mar (90 days). There are two parts: a “Validation Task” and a “Validation Task Deadline” set to run 10 days after the first.

    • #47989


      I agree with you. The reason that I trust IBM and Microsoft but do not trust Apple, Google and Facebook is that the first two have been convicted of abusing their monopoly power in the past.

      My price for trusting any dominant company in a market in which I participate is that it has been convicted of abuse of monopoly power (or something worse?) and so the government can more easily tear into them and send executives to serve jail time.

      I know that some people trust the government less than they trust corporations. I am enough of a Christ follower to know that everyone sins. Therefore, as a practical matter, I trust no one whom I do not very well. And I operate from multiple levels of intermediate trust between none and total as appropriate.

    • #47990

      I switched to Linux back in the Vista days because there was talk back then about the very thing that is happening now. I don’t trust Microsoft, I wish the government would step in and protect our privacy. Oh wait, the government is not to be trusted either.

    • #47991

      Okay, I briefly looked this up on the internet this lunchtime, and I see that it is so powerful that I daren’t disable it.

      I have always used genuine copies of everything, so they can probe away at my authenticity (or whatever they are doing) every 90 days.

      In the “history” window for this, in the computer management area, it indicates that it has not run on my computer prior to Nov 30, 2015, but I now realize that this cannot be true.
      (Silly me, taking that at face value, ha! One must second-guess everything about this sorry business. And yes, it’s a ‘sorry business’ in more ways than one.)

      I don’t know much about computers, admittedly (because I’m just not interested in the nuts and bolts), and I have grown seriously put out with Microsoft for making it necessary for me to do amateur surgery on the innards of my laptop just to *try to* protect it (and records of my personal behavior and thoughts) from being taken over by them. Sheesh.

      Sorry for taking up folks’ time by mentioning something that most here probably already knew (that it’s a necessary service and can rapidly shut the computer down if it’s not allowed to do what it wants).

    • #47992

      I am sad that it has so rapidly come to this, and frustrated that I don’t know enough about computers (and just don’t have the huge amount of time and interest it would take, in my case, for me to learn enough) to ditch the major operating systems and try to use Linux on my own.

    • #47993

      Hi folks

      I dealt with kb971033 a while back. If memory serves, it introduces two tasks in the scheduler to check the validity of an installation. The premise being that just because a copy of windows is valid at one point in time, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it will remain so in the future. This is because you may well have bought your copy of windows in good faith that it was ‘genuine’, with a ‘genuine’ certificate of authenticity – you enter the product key and it validates all well and good. Then, six, eight, ten, or however many months later, M$ work out or discover or become aware that your copy is in fact not genuine. So when the validation task is next run, to re check the validity of your installation, the check fails and your ‘genuine’ copy of windows is rumbled. That’s why it may work fine for ages, then suddenly and seemingly for no reason, you hit this problem.

      The reason there are two tasks that are set to run with a gap between is – as far as I can tell – to take into account that your pc may be switched off when the task is set to run, or you’re not connected to the internet, or some such similar reason.

      Having said that, I have a desktop and laptop, both W7, 64 bit, home premium. Both have kb971033 installed. However, straight after I had validated windows for the 1st time, I deleted the two tasks in scheduler. I’ve had no ill effects as yet and updates still work just fine.

    • #47994

      Even assuming the worst re: W10 snooping, are they (msft) getting any information that is not already being collected/logged by an ISP?

    • #47995

      It’s an open question and unless MS gives us more details, the extent of the data is unknown. They did, however, keep your privacy settings – as noted in the article.

    • #47996

      In Windows 10 there are many privacy settings that supposedly lessen MS’s collection of data. You can choose which apps are allowed to use the hardware, run in the background; you can choose feedback frequency NEVER and diagnostic/usage as BASIC; you can NOT use the store apps or Cortana or Edge or IE. You can use alternate browsers and DuckDuckGo, for example.

      But the one thing you can’t curtail is BING, not even a little, because it is the BUILT-IN search engine (much like IE was in earlier Win that caused the European monopoly suit). You have NO CHOICE, no alternative search. When you search your computer for files, it returns not only local results, but results from your network and the Internet.

      And, yes, Google and Apple collect search results too. But Google doesn’t have access to personal stuff on the computer, and you don’t have to use it. And you can turn off Spotlight and BING, or limit where they search, on a Mac. But you can’t get away from BING.

      MS brags that BING usage has increased. No wonder. And where does the information go. MS, of course! Tell me that’s telemetry!

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