Microsoft has, historically, done some amazingly boneheaded things like clippy, Vista, Win 8, and Win 10. They have one really good product: Excel, otherwise everything they’ve done has succeeded only through illegal exploitation of an aggressively defended monopoly. OK, maybe the Xbox is competitive, but I’m not much of a gamer.
Sadly for the world, the model of selling users for profit to advertisers and spies has gained ground to the point where Microsoft was starting to look like the least evil major entity in closed-source computing. Poor microsoft. To lose the evil crown must be at least as humiliating as their waning revenue and abject failures in the mobile space (so strange… try to enter a space where they don’t have a monopoly to force users to accept their mediocre crap and they fail, who’da thunk it?)
“There is a difference between policy and practice. We don’t read customers mail. We don’t read customer documents. We don’t triangulate YouTube views and searches. We don’t use the content of your Hotmail to target ads in Bing,”
Frank Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications for Microsoft
Well, never fear: Windows 10 is here and they’re radically one-upping the data theft economy by p0wning not just the data you idiotically entrust to someone else’s server for free without ever considering why they’re giving you that useful service for “free” or what they, or whoever buys their ultimately failed business, might do with your data, but also the data you consider too sensitive for the Google or the Apple. Windows 10 exfiltrates all your data to Microsoft for their use and profit without your information. Don’t believe it? Read their Privacy Statement.
Finally, we will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary.
And it is free (as in beer but not as in speech). What could possiblay go wrong?
Well, people weren’t updating fast enough so Microsoft is now pushing that update on you involuntarily. Do you have a data cap that a 10G download might break and cost you money? So what! Your loss! Don’t have enough space on your drive for a 10G hidden folder of crapware foisted off on you without your permission? Tough crap, Microsoft don’t care.
To be clear, Windows 10 is spyware. If this was coming from a teenage hacker somewhere, they’d be facing jail time. It is absolutely, unequivocally malware that will create a liability for you if you use it. If you have any confidentiality requirement, you must not install windows 10. Ever. Not even on your home machine. Just don’t.
The only way to prevent this is really annoying and a little risky: disable automatic downloads. One of the problems with Microsoft’s operating systems is the unbelievably crappy spaghetti code that results in a constant flow of cracks, a week’s worth are patched every Tuesday. About 1 serious vulnerability every fortnight these days (note this is about the same as Ubuntu and about 1/4 the rate of OSX or iOS, why people think Apple products are “secure” is beyond me – live in that fantasy walled garden! But nice logo you paid a 50% premium for on your shiny device). Not patching increases the risk that some hacker somewhere will steal your datas, but patching guarantees that Microsoft will steal your datas. Keep your anti-virus up to date and live a little dangerously by keeping Microsoft out.
Here’s an interesting article: how-to-clean-the-windows-10-crapware-off-your-windows-7-or-81-pc
And a tool referenced in that article: GWX control panel (that can help remove the windows 10 infection if you got it).
And a list of patches I found that are related to Win10 malware that you can remove if you haven’t installed it yet (Windows 10 eliminates the ability to choose or selectively remove patches, once you’re in for the ride, you’re chained in: all or nothing.)
- Disable automatic updates and automatic downloads of updates.
- Review each update Microsoft offers. This is tedious, my win 7 install reports 384 updates, 5-10 a week, but other than security patches, you probably don’t really need them. Only install a patch if there’s a reason. Sorry, that sucks, but there’s always Linux Mint: free like beer AND free like speech.
- If you’re still on Win 7/8, uninstall the spyware Microsoft has probably already installed. If you’re on Windows 8, you probably want to upgrade to Windows 7 if at all possible.
- If you succumbed to the pressure and became a Microsoft Product by installing Windows 10, uninstall it.
- If uninstall doesn’t work, switch to Mint or reinstall 7.
Most importantly, if you develop software for servers or for end users, stop developing for Microsoft (and Apple too). Respect the privacy of your customers by not exposing them to exploitation by desperate operating system vendors. In many classes of applications, your customers buy their computers to run your software: they don’t care what operating system it requires – that should be transparent and painless. Microsoft is no longer an even remotely acceptable choice. Server applications should run under FreeBSD or OpenBSD and desktop applications should run under Linux. You can charge more and generate more profit because the total net cost for your customers will be lower. Split the difference and give them a more reliable, more secure, and lower cost environment and make more money doing so.
But Dave, once again you completely miss the point. In today’s world we all spend so much time and energy worrying about things. Now, thanks to Microsoft, you no longer have to worry about the security of your data. Microsoft will review it and decide whether or not it needs to be secure for you. And they do this all not only free of charge but also in the face of criticism from ingrates like you.
Now go back to looking at videos of cute kittens and talking ducks on Facebook. Microsoft has this all under control.
You’re right, what was I thinking?
“There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”
:-) Though my favorite Orwell quote will always be “the neat handwriting of the illiterate.”
But Microsoft, et al, are up to something that Orwell hinted at but didn’t quite grasp the pernicious nature of. (Though Bradbury captured it pretty well.)
This technology brings such convenience to our lives that we don’t think to question it. So Microsoft can slip this language into page 67 of a EULA that no one ever reads, and legally take the next step in controlling our lives. We don’t notice or care because as long as we see our anthropomorphized ducks on FB we’re happy. Meanwhile the very nature of privacy shifts beneath our feet.
I remember when Marx’s religion being the opiate of masses shifted to TV. Now it’s social media that’s the opiate of the masses.
It is true, after all, that despite giving us the sum of all human knowledge, literally at our fingertips, we use these devices to look at pictures of frolicking kittens.
The very notion of what information privacy means in the digital age is beyond the grasp of 99% of the people out there. I see it every day in my work. And that’s scary.