The world is eagerly waiting for Windows 8, the next big release from Microsoft. The beta releases of Windows 8 have attracted great reviews from users and critics. However, there are some critical privacy concerns which have now been cited about this new operating system (OS).
The privacy issues in Windows 8 have been cited by Nadim Kobeissi, who had been testing the RTM release of Windows 8. While Kobeissi highly commends the speed and performance of the RTM release, he goes on to cite how he is concerned about the way user’s privacy may be violated in the OS.
The whole point of contention is basically a feature called “Windows SmartScreen.” This feature is enabled by default and although a user can disable it manually, it is not that easy.
The feature essentially informs Microsoft of every app that you install on your Windows 8 machine. After getting identification information about the app you are trying to install, and coupling it with your IP address, the feature sends this information to Microsoft servers.
The problem with this is that all these user data goes into Microsoft servers and the company can be made to reveal the data to legal authorities under many different pretexts. This severely undermines the user’s privacy rights. Also, when in a country where activists and other internet users tend to tread carefully and keep their online activity footprint-free, this can pose a serious problem to their security.
Another thing that Kobeissi cites is that the information sent by this feature to Microsoft servers is not adequately secure and can even be intercepted on its way. This essentially means that apart from infringing upon user’s privacy rights, this feature may also comprise the security of their data.
You can disable the feature but there will doubtless be a lot of such Windows users who wouldn’t know about this and will continue to share their data without even knowing about it. I hope that Microsoft will address these crucial issue soon.
Source: Nadim Kobeissi
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