Where do you Stand?

Sara Johns Blog, Computers and Networking

Personalization vs. Privacy. Where do you stand?

Did you upgrade to Windows 10? Despite the fallout over privacy concerns, people seem to like the upgrade. For those who have installed it, and those who are ready for the switch, there are 3 privacy concerns to consider.

Personalization vs. Privacy. Where do you stand?

Millennial users feel as if they don’t have privacy anymore and they are more willing to give up privacy for more features. While older users still tend to be less trusting and more wary. “If you trust Microsoft to protect your interests, and you trust the technical skill of Microsoft’s engineers to protect your information, then sign up for everything without reservation,” said SANS Institute’s Jason Fossen.

What Microsoft is doing with Windows 10 is nothing new. Tech giants like Google, Apple, and Amazon are all collecting and using personal data to customize and improve the product experience for individual users. The major struggle that has been brought to light is the exchange of personal data for convenience and ease of use. The big question becomes: Do we want better privacy or a better product?

Opt-out vs. Opt-in

People who downloaded Windows 10 had the option to opt-out of information sharing. They could disable the features that sent personal data back to Microsoft either at the time of install (if they went with a custom install) or after the fact. People who opted-out, may not be able to take advantage of certain key features.

“If we want a better product, it may make sense to allow for some communication to be sent back to Microsoft. It’s no different than we do in Apple with things like Siri. If you don’t use Siri, it doesn’t get any better,” said John Pironti, president of IP Architects.

Consent vs. Dissent

Personal information is collected and used for a variety of reasons, but it is usually something benign like advertising or personalizing an application, Fossen said. Bear in mind, though, once your information has been commoditized in a way you don’t like, there is almost no way to reverse it.

People must push back on features they are not comfortable with. For example, Facebook has changed its privacy guidelines many times. Users have pushed back against these changes and Facebook has had to back off on certain updates. Microsoft and other tech giants need to be more forthcoming about their treatment of personal information and they must spell it out clearly in official documentation.

As with all technology new and renewed, go in and check the settings. With anything you sign, read the fine print (or at least scan through it). Too many people are shocked at what is going on. While companies need to be more transparent of their intentions, users need to take a bit of the responsibility too. After all, is anything ever really “free”?