Windows 10 Test Version Comes With its Own Keylogger - Update

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Windows 10 Test Version Comes With its Own Keylogger - Update

windows 10 image

According to the Windows 10 Privacy Policy, Microsoft has the right to collect text input into the operating system.

Update: Microsoft responded to our request, ensuring that Windows 10 testers personal data is safe, though neglected to confirm whether or not this "feature" would be present in the final release of the OS.

"As always, we remain committed to helping protect our customers' personal information and ensuring safeguards are in place for the collection and storing of that data. As we get closer to a final product, we will continue to share information through our terms of service and privacy statement about how customer data is collected and used, as well as what choices and controls are available."

Original Story: By agreeing to test-drive the latest version of Windows via Microsoft's Windows insider program, you may be agreeing to give the company more data than you would feel comfortable with, according to a report from Slashdot. Evidently, accepting the Windows 10 Test Version's Privacy Policy grants Microsoft the permission to collect text inputted into the OS, voice recognition data, and more.

To quickly go over the relevant parts of the privacy policy, first up, accepting the agreement means you allow Microsoft to collect various forms of data on you. "Examples of data we collect include your name, email address, preferences and interests; browsing, search and file history; phone call and SMS data; device configuration and sensor data; and application usage," reads the policy.

Next up, in regards to keylogging, the policy specifically states that "If you open a file, we may collect information about the file, the application used to open the file, and how long it takes any use [of] it for purposes such as improving performance, or [if you] enter text, we may collect typed characters, we may collect typed characters and use them for purposes such as improving autocomplete and spell check features."

Lastly, if that's not enough, Microsoft is also able to "use information we learn about your interests to help make the ads we show you more relevant, and we use your voice data to improve speech recognition."

We've reached out to Microsoft to ask them what safeguards are in place for user's personal data, and whether or not this data collection technique will be used in the retail version of Windows 10.

Users signing up to the a test version must be aware that Microsoft is going to collect a lot of data on them, but I doubt they would have thought the company would go far enough to install a flipping keylogger on their machines.

Source: Microsoft via Slashdot

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"The ads we show you"? What the bloody hell are ads doing in an operating system?! Does Microsoft just not want people to test their software?

By agreeing to test-drive the latest version of Windows via Microsoft's Windows insider program

And this is all I needed to read to essentially dismiss the story. In other words: if you're beta-testing the OS, we have the right to see how you use it and what the hell you just did to fuck it up. You may know it better as "debugging." Knowing how people use an OS beyond simply what they told you is kind of important, because they will often miss critical details, or view a key event as minor when it may be determinate.

So, yeah, putting a keylogger and tracking coding in the beta is kind of a no-brainer. The real question is whether this is going to be in the final build. If it's in the final build, then you can start an uproar.

The Rogue Wolf:
"The ads we show you"? What the bloody hell are ads doing in an operating system?! Does Microsoft just not want people to test their software?

Many live tiles need 'em by design. If the store app is advertising apps I might use instead of crap I don't care about, that's really an improvement.

P.S. Thanks

While this is certainly ...shit it's unfortunately not out of the norm, this is pretty much the same things Google, Facebook and numerous other companies have been doing for years. It is hopefully just something that will only be present in the testing software and will not make it to RC versions, which would certainly turn me off of upgrading from 7.

The Gentleman:

By agreeing to test-drive the latest version of Windows via Microsoft's Windows insider program

And this is all I needed to read to essentially dismiss the story. In other words: if you're beta-testing the OS, we have the right to see how you use it and what the hell you just did to fuck it up. You may know it better as "debugging." Knowing how people use an OS beyond simply what they told you is kind of important, because they will often miss critical details, or view a key event as minor when it may be determinate.

So, yeah, putting a keylogger and tracking coding in the beta is kind of a no-brainer. The real question is whether this is going to be in the final build. If it's in the final build, then you can start an uproar.

I think the issue here, though, is whether the logged keys include passwords that you might type in for websites and so forth. From the way the policy reads, it very well might, and that's just not something I'm copacetic with, and neither is Bogos, from the tone of the article.

Well, It is a beta version after all. As long as those are not the same policies as for the release version, I don't see much if a problem aside from the ad placement BS.

About the article... I'm no native English speaker but is "inputted" really correct? Shouldn't it be "input"?

This is enough to make me leery about testing it in our corporate environment. Not that I think MS are going to be evil about anything they might collect. I just don't trust their competence. I can just see a huge database of collected info getting stolen and released to the world at large...

The only way I would be using the test version is if I installed it on a virtual machine without network.

This is downright terrifying when you think about it.

The implications of a company as large as Microsoft thinking this was a smart move to make is rather unsettling, really.

Calm the fuck down people, it's not as bad as you think.
This is a beta build, they need to record events so they can log everything and collect data. That's how Real beta testing works. People are getting too used to this fake bullshit beta testing that game companies are doing now where the "beta" is basically just a demo. Additionally the privacy policy was probably drafted well in advance and probably has many sections that aren't actually relevant to this test version and are just there to cover their asses legally. Anyone who gets upset in this should also be refusing to participate in the steam hardware surveys given how much information it collects from your hard drive without really telling you. Untwist your panties and take a chill pill.

Well when it comes to system info what it really comes down to is, they've crossed every line consistently from the beginning. Nothing has been sacred for any of these companies, and now that they're obligated to tell us in some way, all we can know now is that if we have any personal lines for how much data we are comfortable with give up for grabs, we'll be asked to cross that line if we expect to live and function in modern society.

I want to say that my stand here will be that I will no longer use newer versions of windows and that's probably true. I have a work PC with windows 7 but my home PC is a Mac. But whats more likely? That Microsoft will get enough backlash to change its mind? Or that apple will line up with them and make this a standard we'll have to deal with.

I've already resigned myself to the fact that every time I visit a website, my data is collected, but I at least thought the one important line between things I think and things I publish was the send or submit button I push on an email or text form, rather than what the reality is which will be the keys on my keyboard.

But the absolute worst part of all of this, is that you can't complain about it without eventually starting to sound like a bat shit crazy crotchety old coot. I mean we've already established that the NSA will have access to this data, because fuck you they will. So now the device you use to run your personal life will log everything you do and send it to a company who will pass it along freely to the government agency responsible for providing the data that allows the remote controllers of stealth armed flying machines to rain death on anyone (maybe you) for reasons they don't have to tell you because someone you don't know decided he knows what's best for you even better then you ever could.

It's a lovely thought that the only thing that keeps us from terminator dooms day is the assumption that those in charge are too lazy to come up with an AI that sophisticated, and the only thing that keeps the captain america 2 plot line from playing out in full is that we're almost positive there isn't a secret Nazi death cult lurking within our government.

invasion of privacy aside I actually don't think personalised adds are the worst thing ever at least in principle

I mean...if I have to put up with bullshit adds it may as well be for things I have a chance of being interested in?

That seem similar to the agreement that you had to agree to for Windows 7 Technical preview, its been a few years since I read that one. There are differences because they are adding an app store, but they are collecting information to make sure the OS is going to work.

I guess I am just in the minority, but I read a most of the EULA's that are presented to me and I guess that is why I found it hilarious when people were going crazy over EA's Origin EULA, but perfectly fine with Steam's.

Kameburger:
we're almost positive there isn't a secret Nazi death cult lurking within our government.

Of course there isn't. The Secret Nazi Death Cult is on the moon. Everyone knows that.

I have no problem with this so long as it doesn't exist in any way in the retail version. Please dear god don't screw it up i abosultely despise windows 8 and will jump ship the second its possible

The Rogue Wolf:
"The ads we show you"? What the bloody hell are ads doing in an operating system?! Does Microsoft just not want people to test their software?

This was my primary sticking point from the agreement.

Are they saying the Windows 10 UI is going to resemble the Xbox 360/Xbox One/Xbox Live interface? Right down to the obtrusive, ever-present, overly intrusive ads plastered over every inch of screen space?

Inquiring minds would like to know...

Covarr:

Many live tiles need 'em by design. If the store app is advertising apps I might use instead of crap I don't care about, that's really an improvement.

P.S. Thanks

Logistically, how does that make sense? Should they not be able to function without such a system?

I'm genuinely curious.

And more to the point, even if such "ads" have to exist within the core system, shouldn't they be under the control of the end-user and not Microsoft?

Vault101:
invasion of privacy aside I actually don't think personalised adds are the worst thing ever at least in principle

I mean...if I have to put up with bullshit adds it may as well be for things I have a chance of being interested in?

Ads, or let's face it here...adware, built directly into a paid to use OS is NOT acceptable in any rational sense whatsoever.

I'm sorry, but this is inexcusable. I don't give a flying fuck if the ads are for things I might want[1], they don't belong in the core of my premium priced OS.

[1] And really, isn't it unsettling enough that Microsoft would know what things to advertise to you?

Vigormortis:

Are they saying the Windows 10 UI is going to resemble the Xbox 360/Xbox One/Xbox Live interface? Right down to the obtrusive, ever-present, overly intrusive ads plastered over every inch of screen space?

I'm sorry, but this is inexcusable. I don't give a flying fuck if the ads are for things I might want[1], they don't belong in the core of my premium priced OS.

theres adds? on the dashboard? yeesh

no its not ok, its bullshit, but I was just talking in theory

[1] And really, isn't it unsettling enough that Microsoft would know what things to advertise to you?

So is it now clear that Win10 will be more of a service than a product? I think so.

Leaving the keylogger thing aside since thats likely just a beta version thing, it's the advert part that makes me raise my eyebrows. Is their intention to turn W10 into freakin' Xbox LIVE's UI? 'cuz no freaking thanks to that. The last thing I want is having to start grabbing addons from the net to block that sort of crap.

Oh c'mon colour me a M$ fanboy if you will, but this is sensationalist journalism in a nutshell. It is a freaking beta test for an OS, naturally they are going to be collecting a huge amount of data in order to analyse, optimize and bugtest before release. The key to doing all this involves being able to recreate any errors that beta testers stumble upon.

I really think this article is reaching far to get a scandal. This is pretty much a non-story in my book. If this was part of the final product, then by all means raise hell and grill 'em, but this is just a e select group of people involved in a project voluntarily, and thus given their consent to having their behaviour. This is not a case of customers being fooled into accepting invasive spying by M$.

Z of the Na'vi:
This is downright terrifying when you think about it.

The implications of a company as large as Microsoft thinking this was a smart move to make is rather unsettling, really.

Actually this is normal because it's test software, they need to be able to see what you were doing when a problem emerges. Eg: If your OS crashes when you try to load a file they want to know what your trying to load and with what software to narrow down the cause of the issue. Since people using it have agreed to being testers then there's no right to complain because that's what you've got the software for, to help Microsoft find the bugs.

I have Windows 10 on my laptop and I have no issues with this because, unlike some people it seems, I knew what I was signing on for.

Captcha: Watch me - Indeed I will.

Halyah:
Leaving the keylogger thing aside since thats likely just a beta version thing, it's the advert part that makes me raise my eyebrows. Is their intention to turn W10 into freakin' Xbox LIVE's UI? 'cuz no freaking thanks to that. The last thing I want is having to start grabbing addons from the net to block that sort of crap.

I haven't seen any ads in Windows 10 sofar, I would assume they mean in the store or something which I never visit.

Z of the Na'vi:
This is downright terrifying when you think about it.

The implications of a company as large as Microsoft thinking this was a smart move to make is rather unsettling, really.

It's a beta test dude, the whole point is finding errors before releasing the final product, so they need as much behavioural data as possible. I highly doubt the key logger or any of the other monitoring software. The whole point id to hunt bugs before they hit the market. This has been done before, I have no idea why it is making the news.

Worgen:
The only way I would be using the test version is if I installed it on a virtual machine without network.

Then what would be the point of the test version? The whole idea is for Microsoft to make last minute improvements before it reaches the market, how would a closed network machine help with that aim?

I can accept this in a beta build made for testing. They need to collect data about how the system is working. However, if this makes it into the final version, that's enough to make me very skeptical about upgrading.

Pinkamena:
I can accept this in a beta build made for testing. They need to collect data about how the system is working. However, if this makes it into the final version, that's enough to make me very skeptical about upgrading.

It didn't in XP, nor in Vista, nor in 7, nor in 8.

It's a test version, and they are extremely clear about gathering data from it even on the download page itself.

RicoADF:

Halyah:
Leaving the keylogger thing aside since thats likely just a beta version thing, it's the advert part that makes me raise my eyebrows. Is their intention to turn W10 into freakin' Xbox LIVE's UI? 'cuz no freaking thanks to that. The last thing I want is having to start grabbing addons from the net to block that sort of crap.

I haven't seen any ads in Windows 10 sofar, I would assume they mean in the store or something which I never visit.

As long as it doesn't show up in any ordinary programs or in the general UI then good. The last thing I want to deal with when doing my everday business is having to deal with ads. I get enough of that stuff on the internet.

Key logger? Well it's a beta build, they need to see what you are doing in order to if any bugs that come up, so that's not a big surprise. It'd be a really big deal if it was in the retail OS but this is just the test build so not too worried about that...

Now...ad's...say what?! Microsoft why are there advertisements in my OS? What the absolute fuck is that about? I really don't care for them, not in my OS. You have proven you are incapable of making a desecrate advert (see X-box Live) so just NO!

If the Ad's are in the final product then I swear I'm going to learn how to program just so I can disable that crap.

The Gentleman:

By agreeing to test-drive the latest version of Windows via Microsoft's Windows insider program

And this is all I needed to read to essentially dismiss the story. In other words: if you're beta-testing the OS, we have the right to see how you use it and what the hell you just did to fuck it up. You may know it better as "debugging." Knowing how people use an OS beyond simply what they told you is kind of important, because they will often miss critical details, or view a key event as minor when it may be determinate.

So, yeah, putting a keylogger and tracking coding in the beta is kind of a no-brainer. The real question is whether this is going to be in the final build. If it's in the final build, then you can start an uproar.

I'm really glad I read this before writing a rather stern post. Thanks for the info.

But those ads though... What?

The Gentleman:

By agreeing to test-drive the latest version of Windows via Microsoft's Windows insider program

And this is all I needed to read to essentially dismiss the story. In other words: if you're beta-testing the OS, we have the right to see how you use it and what the hell you just did to fuck it up. You may know it better as "debugging." Knowing how people use an OS beyond simply what they told you is kind of important, because they will often miss critical details, or view a key event as minor when it may be determinate.

So, yeah, putting a keylogger and tracking coding in the beta is kind of a no-brainer. The real question is whether this is going to be in the final build. If it's in the final build, then you can start an uproar.

I agree. This preview is not something that regular consumers should bother with anyway. It's mostly for IT experts and other businesses to prepare their systems for the release of the final product.

To those who are defending this as being part and parcel of a beta: what makes this odious is the scope. If you're offering a beta of a game, recording inputs made to the game should mean you are only recording data that applies to the game /and only the game/. This is more like offering a beta version of a new version of Word where taking part in the beta grants Microsoft the right to read your slash fanfiction. Except it's even worse than that, because beta testing Windows doesn't just include your slash fanfiction but also your passwords /and/ your internet banking details /and/ a bunch of other stuff that really is none of Microsoft's business.

Grumman:
To those who are defending this as being part and parcel of a beta: what makes this odious is the scope. If you're offering a beta of a game, recording inputs made to the game should mean you are only recording data that applies to the game /and only the game/. This is more like offering a beta version of a new version of Word where taking part in the beta grants Microsoft the right to read your slash fanfiction. Except it's even worse than that, because beta testing Windows doesn't just include your slash fanfiction but also your passwords /and/ your internet banking details /and/ a bunch of other stuff that really is none of Microsoft's business.

You can turn all this off, you know? Just create a local profile and check to see which tasks in Task Scheduler are sending information to Microsoft, then disable them.

Vigormortis:
...they don't belong in the core of my premium priced OS.

And really, isn't it unsettling enough that Microsoft would know what things to advertise to you?

Well that's an interesting point: who said it would be a premium priced OS? Every other consumer OS is basically free now. The price of Windows has come down a lot over the years. I imagine they expect people to be less excited about buying Windows 10 off the shelf than has been the case in the past. They might well be looking at providing a free option this time, in order to maintain market share, in which case all this spyware would be what pays for it.

Microsoft has been in the advertising business for a long time, they've just been losing badly to Google. They already have some idea of what to sell you thanks to all your Bing searches... Oh yeah. Well do they have a popular product that could be used to mine ad data?

Ehhhh.
Its not in Microsoft's best interests to go around hijacking my bank account, and I couldn't care less if they collect every fetish porn search query I try to put into google. Sure its not a positive, but I don't get why everyone gets so antsy about their privacy in situations like this. The same thing happened with kinect a while back. Its not like they are going to go and post all my dirty secrets everywhere. Sure they could. But why would they? And if they did who would care?
Don't get me wrong. Its definitely a little bit of a turn off for trying the test version. But I wouldn't lose any sleep if I had gone and used it for a while before being told about this.

Halyah:

As long as it doesn't show up in any ordinary programs or in the general UI then good. The last thing I want to deal with when doing my everday business is having to deal with ads. I get enough of that stuff on the internet.

If you'd like me to take screenshots for you I'd be happy to, just let me know what you want to see. That goes for everyone.

x EvilErmine x:
Key logger? Well it's a beta build, they need to see what you are doing in order to if any bugs that come up, so that's not a big surprise. It'd be a really big deal if it was in the retail OS but this is just the test build so not too worried about that...

Now...ad's...say what?! Microsoft why are there advertisements in my OS? What the absolute fuck is that about? I really don't care for them, not in my OS. You have proven you are incapable of making a desecrate advert (see X-box Live) so just NO!

If the Ad's are in the final product then I swear I'm going to learn how to program just so I can disable that crap.

There are no ads in the beta, atleast not in the OS itself. Only place I could think of is the store.

EDIT:
Taken the screenshot of the start menu, as you can see it's easily customisable and no ads are on the system. The only thing I hope they change is the ability to un pin the search button on the task bar and the ability to have live tiles in 1 collumn rather then the way they are now where they move themselves to where they want to be, gets really annoying can only have 1 tile because of it rather than 4 one under the other how I want it.

O maestre:
Oh c'mon colour me a M$ fanboy if you will, but this is sensationalist journalism in a nutshell. It is a freaking beta test for an OS, naturally they are going to be collecting a huge amount of data in order to analyse, optimize and bugtest before release. The key to doing all this involves being able to recreate any errors that beta testers stumble upon.

I really think this article is reaching far to get a scandal. This is pretty much a non-story in my book. If this was part of the final product, then by all means raise hell and grill 'em, but this is just a e select group of people involved in a project voluntarily, and thus given their consent to having their behaviour. This is not a case of customers being fooled into accepting invasive spying by M$.

I just reread the article. Apart from some minor emotive language it seems more informative than sensational. I'm willing to bet that a large portion of the people signing up to this are not aware of the level of information retention a beta test involves.

Grumman:
Except it's even worse than that, because beta testing Windows doesn't just include your slash fanfiction but also your passwords /and/ your internet banking details /and/ a bunch of other stuff that really is none of Microsoft's business.

This is the reason that ill informed beta testers are at severe risk.

Trippy Turtle:
Don't get me wrong. Its definitely a little bit of a turn off for trying the test version. But I wouldn't lose any sleep if I had gone and used it for a while before being told about this.

That's fair enough, but a lot of people would lose sleep over it.

x EvilErmine x:
Now...ad's...say what?! Microsoft why are there advertisements in my OS? What the absolute fuck is that about? I really don't care for them, not in my OS. You have proven you are incapable of making a desecrate advert (see X-box Live) so just NO!

I agree, I do not have any interest in an operating system that comes pre-infected with adware.

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