Microsoft hit back on Wednesday at allegations that Windows 10 is a risk to customers' privacy. VP of Windows and devices Terry Myerson said that the system was designed with two principles in mind: information is collected so the product will work better, and you choose what information Microsoft collects.
Myerson's statement set out two ways the company uses customer data: for reliability, and for personalization. Myerson also made a subtle jab at competitors like Google, who depend on targeted advertising revenue to operate. "Unlike some other platforms, no matter what privacy options you choose, neither Windows 10 nor any other Microsoft software scans the content of your email or other communications, or your files, in order to deliver targeted advertising to you," he said.
Microsoft is able to use collected data to fix bugs faster. "We collect a limited amount of information to help us provide a secure and reliable experience," Myerson said. An example of data that was used to fix a bug occured last month, when a particular graphics driver was causing a small selection of PCs to crash. Microsoft was able to fix the update within 48 hours, using collected data from crash reports.
Myerson also explained that data can be used to personalize the system. Knowing your favorite sports team can enable Microsoft to give updates on relevant game scores. However, Myerson also stressed the role users play in choosing what information gets shared with Microsoft: users can change their settings at any time.
The company previously came under fire when it emerged that Windows 10 would request Cortana files during Start menu searches, even if the personal assistant was disabled. A Microsoft statement at the time said that no query or search usage data is transmitted.
Myerson noted that users can flag up ways software is ignoring privacy settings through the company feedback page.