When Windows 10 stealthily pushes an update on to my machine, I get anxious.
The unexpected restart closes all my active incognito (thus irrecoverable) browser tabs, my open documents and unsaved work, leaving it up to my own memory to restore everything prior to the reboot.
But the worse thing is that I have no immediate idea what got installed on my machine when the computer starts back up. I have to go through a routine of actively searching for changes, uninstalling any rogue applications, and making sure all data and privacy settings are in tact.
At start-up, the update process gives me a slightly less than comforting message:
Why is this less than comforting? Well, in today’s online world, there is an awful lot of snoop and spyware being installed by these very companies purporting to “protect” us. It worries me particularly because of the active censorship efforts of Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and other tech companies that have jumped on the big data bandwagon. Your e-mails, conversations, files, apps and all other sorts of data are being mined and collected not only to be sold to advertisers, but to be sent to authorities, to rat you out in case there’s a perceived instance of “wrong-think”.
Your freedom and privacy is being sold off to the highest bidding corporations and corrupt governing ideologues.
With all the potential backdoors too comes the possibility of third-party hackers exploiting any poorly written software and getting hold of that big data, your personal and financial information, your confidential work documents and more.
When Windows suddenly and automatically launches the setup host in the background, slowing my computer to a crawl, I go into lock-down mode unaware that it’s just Windows taking over the machine, assuming that a virus or such has taken over the computer. The fact that Windows 10 updates behave like malware doesn’t bode well for Microsoft’s image. I realize we were warned back in the good old days of Windows 7 when GWX.exe, the “Get Windows 10” ad-ware, was the interminable program constantly begging Windows 7 users to upgrade. The Windows 10 upgrade was free for a reason: instead of paying in dollars, we would pay the price with our privacy and data.
The best one can do to minimize the telemetry and data mining and maximize your control over the environment is to go into Settings, start uninstalling as many of the unused apps that come with these updates, and ensure your privacy and update settings are set to the lowest level of intrusion possible. There is no guarantee of safeguarding most of your data since nothing tells us specifically what is considered “basic”:
I feel these updates don’t help protect anyone in an online world. The fact that Cortana can’t be fully disabled, diagnostic data can’t be fully disabled, and automatic installation of updates can’t be fully disabled — these updates are instead worrisome in an online world.
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