Many are claiming that Windows 10's data collection is much more invasive than previous Microsoft products, even claiming that Windows 10 ships with a keylogger and reports every keystroke back to Microsoft. Most locally, this question on the Stack Exchange network makes some of the same claims.
However, it seems that many of those sources have conflated the developer pre-release version of Windows 10 with the official release, and I'm having trouble separating the wheat from the chaff. My goal in asking this question is to look past the sensationalist reporting and see what rights Microsoft holds.
The official End-User License Agreement for the final retail release of Windows 10 says the following:
Privacy; Consent to Use of Data. Your privacy is important to us. Some of the software features send or receive information when using those features. Many of these features can be switched off in the user interface, or you can choose not to use them. By accepting this agreement and using the software you agree that Microsoft may collect, use, and disclose the information as described in the Microsoft Privacy Statement (aka.ms/privacy), and as may be described in the user interface associated with the software features.
The referenced Microsoft Privacy Statement says the following:
Microsoft collects data to operate effectively and provide you the best experiences with our services. [...] We get some of it by recording how you interact with our services by, for example, using technologies like cookies, and receiving error reports or usage data from software running on your device. We also obtain data from third parties (including other companies).
Microsoft uses the data we collect to provide you the services we offer, which includes using data to improve and personalize your experiences. [...] We use data to help make the ads we show you more relevant to you. However, we do not use what you say in email, chat, video calls or voice mail, or your documents, photos or other personal files to target ads to you.
Windows 10 ("Windows") is a personalized computing environment that enables you to seamlessly roam and access services, preferences and content across your computing devices from phones to tablets to the Surface Hub. Rather than residing as a static software program on your device, key components of Windows are cloud-based, and both cloud and local elements of Windows are updated regularly, providing you with the latest improvements and features. In order to provide this computing experience, we collect data about you, your device, and the way you use Windows. And because Windows is personal to you, we give you choices about the personal data we collect and how we use it.
Putting aside the technical question of what information the software actually does collect (which would be off topic)...
From a legal standpoint, in the retail version of Windows 10:
- How does Microsoft's claim to user data differ from previous versions of Windows?
- Does Microsoft have the right to record arbitrary keystrokes or clicks made while using their operating system and send that data to external servers?
- Does Microsoft have the right to share user usage data with third parties (such as advertising agencies), either at a price or without compensation? Despite saying that they currently don't use data directly from our personal files for this purpose, do they have a right to begin doing so at any time?