What you need to know
- Microsoft 365 usage analytics are getting a privacy overhaul.
- The change will "pseudonymize user-level information by default."
- It goes into effect on September 1, 2021.
Microsoft 365 usage analytics are changing starting September 1, 2021. From that date onward, multiple Microsoft products and APIs will "pseudonymize user-level information by default."
The move is being advertised as a way to help companies comply with local privacy laws. Over on the Microsoft 365 blog, there's a list of which Microsoft services are affected by the change.
- Microsoft 365 Reports in the Microsoft 365 admin center
- Microsoft 365 usage reports in Microsoft Graph
- Microsoft Teams analytics and reporting in the Microsoft Teams admin center
- The reportRoot: getSharePointSiteUsageDetail API (1.0 and beta) for SharePoint site detail
However, even though Microsoft is making pseudonymization the default, it's still leaving the option open for admins to revert the change so that user information is identifiable. "When user identification is enabled, administrative roles and the report reader role will be able to see identifiable user level information," Microsoft's blog post reads. "Global reader and Usage Summary Reports Reader roles will not have access to identifiable user information, regardless of the setting chosen."
For those who aren't global administrators, this policy change likely won't have a direct impact in terms of requiring direct action, though it does give insight for average users as to how their privacy is, or isn't, being protected. Knowledge of the policy change is useful to have, especially given how vast Microsoft's reach is when it comes to pulling in user data. Consider how you're contributing to analytics across the company's various products right now, especially if you're using Windows or are excited for the upcoming release of Windows 11.
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Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.