Hints of new Windows 10 privacy tools spotted in recent Insider builds

Microsoft has been gradually adding more privacy controls with each successive update to Windows 10, and it looks as if that's set continue in the next big update. Recent Windows Insider builds have included two new settings, neither of which is active yet, which appear poised to improve transparency about the telemetry data that Microsoft collects.

As spotted by ZDNet, the "Diagnostics & feedback" section of the setting menu now contains headings for a Diagnostic data viewer, as well as an option to delete diagnostic data. Both are placeholders for the moment, but they'll presumably allow you to easily view what kind of diagnostic data Microsoft has collected on your machine, and delete it if you choose to do so. The headings have been present in Insider builds 17063 and 17074, according to ZDNet.

Diagnostic Tools

This has been a particular point of contention for privacy organizations, even leading to formal complaints from a French regulator over allegations that Windows 10 collects "excessive data." The regulator later dropped its complaints, citing Microsoft's steps to reduce the amount of data collected by default and to give users more granular control over what data is collected. The two new settings, if they make it to the release of the next update, appear poised to make Windows 10 more transparent in terms of the data it collects.

Some other, smaller changes to privacy settings have also popped up in recent Insider builds. The "Diagnostics & feedback" tab itself has been moved to a more prominent position, instead of at the bottom of a long list in the privacy settings menu. Additionally, the "Speech, Inking, & Typing" tab features a new "View User Dictionary" option that shows your saved dictionary words.

Ahead of the release of recent major Windows 10 updates, Microsoft has provided deep dives into how it improved security and privacy settings. It's likely we'll see a more detailed look at the changes coming ahead of the next major update release, expected this spring.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • "Hey Cortana, order me a tinfoil hat"
  • More like... "Hey Cortana, please get Alexa to order me a tinfoil hat". =P
  • I do not see why it is so wrong for people not to have their OS senmd data of what they are or are not doing?   We did not have this amount of telemtry in windows before 10, untill Ms decided to stick updates in Windows 7 and 8, so I do not see the reason for it now.  i thought the whole point of the insider group was so Ms could sort out the problems before it was launched.   Nothing to do with tinfopil hats, everything to do with a little bit of privacy. #
  • What are you doing thats so bad?
  • The point is to see what features people actually use and don't use, so they can focus their efforts on improving feature usages which might be underused or expand things that people like.  It also helps figure out what caused crashes so they can fix problems with Windows and possibly mitigate badly behaving programs.  Windows 10 has had huge amount of changes compared to previous versions of Windows, and they've managed to keep things stable, even improving stability since its initial launch.   The insider program does help with some of those same issues, but the reality is that the number of people joining insiders is much smaller than the install base, and even if someone is in the insiders program, that doesn't mean they're actually using Windows "for real."  For example I have a VM which is part of the fast ring; i don't use it for my daily stuff, I just fire it up once in a while to see what's coming down the line.  
  • There's something overtly sinister in the way that Windows 10's privacy issues have been treated, both by Microsoft and the media. it is, at least, being addressed, even if downplayed.