After Microsoft’s announcement that they will be releasing a telemetry-free version of Windows 10 limited to China, there really shouldn’t be anything surprising from their movements on the market in a desperate attempt to keep their customer base. France obviously doesn’t take too kindly to these privacy-/security-flawed policies no matter how much Microsoft tries to sugarcoat their junk as “features”. After lots of complaints about Windows 10 privacy issues, several lawsuits were set into motion and one is from France’s National Data Protection Commission concluding that Windows 10 was collecting “excessive personal data”.
After Microsoft swiftly went into action to avoid losing yet another large market, the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) actually made a decision to drop the charges. The commission’s remarks indicate that the reduced amount of collected data is now at satisfactory levels and users are properly informed about what is happening to their data.
Announcing that it was dropping the lawsuit, the CNIL says that: “The company has reduced the volume of data collected under the ‘base’ level of its telemetry service by nearly half, identifying system problems and solving them. It limited this collection to the data strictly necessary to maintain the system and applications in good working order and to ensure their safety.”
There are now clear warnings not only about data collection, but also about the existence of unique identifiers used to deliver targeted advertising. Among the steps Microsoft has taken, CNIL states:
In addition, the installation procedure for Windows 10 has been modified: users can not finalize the installation until they have expressed their choice of enabling or disabling the ad identifier. They may, moreover, return at any time to that choice.
Microsoft will no doubt be pleased to have managed to brush off at least one batch of criticism. But while French regulators may be happy with what’s been done, it’s not clear whether the company has gone far enough to allay the concerns of users. Meanwhile in Germany, Munich has switched to Linux a long time ago but apparently the war for territory is not over yet as MS is lobbying hard to make the city’s administration switch back to Windows. After the outbreak of the ransomware Wannacry, the Green Party has warned against this kind of move.