Windows 10 may be the best Windows operating system yet but it has been widely criticized for collecting and oversharing a lot of user data to Microsoft by default.
Privacy advocates are concerned about the myriad of increased telemetry data that Windows 10 is mining from its users. This telemetry data includes location sharing, speech recognition, typing inputs, browsing history, software usage and diagnostics.
In its defense, Microsoft claims that this data collection helps it improve its software and services to deliver personalized experiences, efficient targeted ads and to help keep users safe from software threats.
To further bolster its transparency and to rebuild some of the trust lost due to these privacy concerns, Microsoft has launched a new online Privacy Dashboard that lets you see and monitor all your Microsoft Account activity data across services.
With this new dashboard, you can view and clear Microsft Edge browsing activity, Cortana and Bing search history, location data and Cortana Notebook items associated with your Microsoft account.
Microsoft describes this dashboard as its "first step in expanding the tools that give you visibility and control over your data spanning Microsoft products and services." In time, the company states that it will continue to add more functionality and categories of data to this privacy dashboard.
To access this online privacy dashboard, sign in to your Microsoft Account management page and go to the Privacy section.
Windows 10 Creators Update
Microsoft also announced that it is simplifying Windows 10's privacy settings in the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update slated for release in early 2017.
The update will revamp the initial Windows 10 setup to clearly show the important privacy settings that you need to choose from, whether you are upgrading from a previous Windows version or you are already using Windows 10. This setup will replace the "Express settings" option that is currently in Windows 10.
Another big change in the Creators Update is the streamlining of the telemetry data that is currently being collected in Windows 10's "Feedback & diagnostics" section. With the update, the section will be dropping the Enhanced level option, cutting it down to two levels, Basic or Full, instead of the current three.
Furthermore, the data collected in the Basic level will be further reduced. To be clear, Microsoft said that this level will still include data that is vital to Windows including device information, what is installed and basic error reporting.
Microsoft said these changes are but "another step" to address user feedback and "help make your experience with Windows and other Microsoft products better and richer."
To read more about these privacy setting changes, head on over to Microsoft's official blog post.