While things look as if they are on track for Microsoft in regards to the rapid distribution of its new operating system Windows 10 -- the company wants to push it on a billion devices in the next few years -- things are heating up in regards to privacy.
Windows 10 users can turn off most of the invasive tracking, data collecting and reporting features the operating system ships with -- check out our privacy tools comparison for Windows 10 for links and information -- but even if that is done carefully, data is still collected and submitted to Microsoft.
Vaughn Highfield over on Alphr points out another issue that many user of the operating system will dislike if they find out about it.
Microsoft updated its EULA terms recently in regards to counterfeit software and unauthorized hardware.
In section 7b of the services agreement the company notes:
Sometimes you’ll need software updates to keep using the Services. We may automatically check your version of the software and download software updates or configuration changes, including those that prevent you from accessing the Services, playing counterfeit games, or using unauthorized hardware peripheral devices.
What this means, in plain terms, is that Microsoft may block you from playing counterfeit games and using unauthorized hardware on devices running Windows 10.
Most users will have two issues with this approach. First, Microsoft fails to make any mention on what unauthorized hardware peripheral devices mean. The process of labeling devices as unauthorized is unclear, as is the scope of it.
Second, to block pirated games from running, scans need to be performed to detect these programs. While some users may agree that blocking pirated programs from running is a good thing, privacy-conscious users will dislike its impact on the system and privacy.
If you look up what Microsoft means when it says Services, you find the following list on the website. It includes many Microsoft products, for instance Bing, the Microsoft Account, MSN, Cortana, Office, Outlook, xbox Live or Xbox and Windows games published by Microsoft.
Windows 10 is missing on that list, and the most likely explanation for the change is the upcoming launch of Windows 10 on Microsoft's Xbox One.
If that is indeed the case, the company reserves the right to block copied games from playing on the device and to block unauthorized hardware devices from working on it.
This would explain why games are mentioned in the agreement but applications are not. It would also mean that this won't apply to desktop systems running Windows 10.
Highfield believes that this applies to Windows 10 computer systems as well but there is no indication that this is indeed the case. Since Windows 10 is not listed, only the services listed by Microsoft fall under the agreement.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.