back to article Sneaky Microsoft renamed its data slurper before sticking it back in Windows 10

“Anonymity is like virginity. You don't get it back once you've lost it,” writes one Register reader on Microsoft’s latest raid on your privacy. Microsoft pulled a major update for Windows after it blew away the user's privacy settings, allowing app developers and advertisers to glean the user’s identity. But that’s only part …

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  1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    WTF?

    Updates listed?

    Is anyone maintaining a list of updates for Wins 7 and 8? I have several updates for Win 7 indicated but not installed until I know exactly what they do. Trust has GONE.

    1. nkuk

      Re: Updates listed?

      There's a surprisingly large number that have been back-ported to Windows 7. I find an open source utility DWS Lite (Destroy Windows Spying) is very good at removing them all and blocking all the associated URLs/IPs. Its source code is available so you can see what it does, and which KBs it removes.

      1. Justin Clift

        Re: Updates listed?

        DWS Lite repo on GitHub:

        https://github.com/Nummer/Destroy-Windows-10-Spying/

        Looks like it has a back door though, so best to get someone to vet/cleanse it before using: :(

        https://github.com/zeffy/Destroy-Windows-10-Spying/commit/72f8ffe446a60211285ef51d1beae5d5844cb10a

      2. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Updates listed?

        There's a surprisingly large number that have been back-ported to Windows 7. I find an open source utility DWS Lite (Destroy Windows Spying) is very good at removing them all and blocking all the associated URLs/IPs. Its source code is available so you can see what it does, and which KBs it removes.

        That sounds like a useful little tool, perhaps someone here could review it?

      3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: Updates listed?

        @nkuk - If I have to constantly fight the OS to avoid it installing assorted malware I will do something like ditch it or restrict its usage.

    2. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

      Re: Updates listed?

      I'm keeping such a critter updated in Evernote. As the article says, they keep renaming stuff and reintroducing it repeatedly. My list isn't likely all of the updates though so I don't offer it up.

    3. swschrad

      cannot trust MonsterSlop any more

      sneaky little weasels, I have had to pry the GetWinX gouge off my machine three times to get critical updates. and now I have to chase their spyware. hey, Redmond, call Sony and see how that kind of shit works for building reputations.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Updates listed?

      No. Why bother? I'm planning on Linux.

      It's possibly no better. But the same applies if someone puts muck in my food. I'll go elsewhere, even if the alternative only serves plain food. Linux will do the job, I'd not trade it for glitter and gold encrusted ****.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Updates listed?

        It's still possible to use Windows for specialty apps that aren't available on other OS's. I primarily use a Mac, but still need to use Windows on a real Windows computer for some engineering apps. Just don't connect the Windows machine to the internet and feed it data through the CD drive or from your LAN after you have vetted it. This has worked for me for years.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Updates listed?

      This is the problem.

      I'm running 10, but getting increasingly concerned that if I have to make a job out of policing changes made to privacy and / or monitoring what updates are up to all the time, then I may just give up entirely and move to a Linux distro.

    6. just_me
      Holmes

      Re: Updates listed?

      I assume the Win7, Win8 updates you are worried about are the Nag/Auto update to Win10 patches. The list I have so far is; KB3022345, KB2952664, KB3021917, KB3035583, KB3068708, KB3075249, KB3080149, KB3102429,KB971033 - This is the list I use for my machines, so it includes MSFT's "telemetry" patches as well as the Win10 update patches.

      I also have KB3102810 on the same sheet - I would need to double check why I have this included in the list. I tend to look for these and hide them. There is also a registry entry "AllowOSUpgrade" that should be 0. Key location is "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\OSUpgrade\"

  2. Camilla Smythe Silver badge

    FTFY

    Examples of data we collect include your name, email address, preferences and interests; browsing, search and file history; phone call and SMS data; device configuration and sensor data; and application usage.

    Examples of data we do not collect include... errr... uhm. Can we get back to you on that one?

    1. Badvok

      Re: FTFY

      I know I'll probably get loads of downvotes for even asking this but has anyone actually checked whether any of this information actually does get sent anywhere if you don't sign up to the 'Let us see everything you're doing programme' or as Microsoft call it the 'Customer Experience Improvement Program' ?

      1. swschrad

        don't know, don't hack fortune 50 corporations

        and you'd have to do that to really see if your liasons are saved and watched over and over

      2. CompUser

        Re: FTFY

        Not sure exactly what is sent back to microsoft but a microsoft representative has stated that you can't stop information leaving your computer.

        What information they are slurping, well, take a guess.

      3. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: FTFY

        More like could you show us the way to track down and opt out of what is in all likelihood an opt-in from the time if install, and then assume that the local machine will then respect that decision till the next time I'm forced to re-install the OS again?

        That's the problem, (Well One of them anyway!), with Windows 10. Is that it can, has, and will disregard your opinions at the request of the Mothership at the drop of a pin. I can't say that I'm overly fond of such practice's.

      4. Longtemps, je me suis couche de bonne heure

        Re: FTFY

        Microsoft employee 1 writes:

        "I know I'll probably get loads of downvotes for even asking this but has anyone actually checked whether any of this information actually does get sent anywhere if you don't sign up to the 'Let us see everything you're doing programme' or as Microsoft call it the 'Customer Experience Improvement Program' ?"

        And Microsoft employee 2 immediately replies (a coincidence, perhaps?):

        "Whilst I'm not defending them for collecting it, I think it's pretty refreshing to see that a company can be open about what they do collect. So many hide it, or try to."

        Dear MSE 1 - perhaps Microsoft will check for you and discover "Lo, none of it gets sent anywhere"

        Dear MSE 2 - "refreshing" is a lovely word to describe data piracy, perhaps you should ask FAST to investigate on your behalf.

        1. Timmy B Silver badge

          Re: FTFY

          Longtemps, got any actual evidence these people work for Microsoft? No? That's a surprise. You're playing to the wide and generally established anti-MS crowd on the Reg with you're fairly poor attempt at ad hominem aren't you?

          1. Dave K Silver badge

            Re: FTFY

            I'm personally not "anti-MS". I use Windows as my OS of choice and am generally happy with it. However, MS's attitude and behaviour here stinks to high heaven and I am amazed that there are people out there in any way sticking up for it. Maybe these people aren't MS employees, but with that level of devotion to the company, they certainly should consider applying.

            1. Daniel Hall

              Re: FTFY

              /thanks for the career advise.

              1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: FTFY

                ….advice.

                /your welcome

            2. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: FTFY

              I was a fan of MS, with reservations. But no longer. It's the mix of slurping and shitty, arrogant, clumsy design.

              (I want to be able to control my start menu, with reasonable ease, and remove (cr)apps that I don't want or need).

          2. Daniel B.

            Re: FTFY @Timmy

            Well, there's the thing that there are always a lot of "a.c." comments with decidedly pro-MSFT defense arguments, which is a clear sign of corporate shillings.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: FTFY @Timmy @Daniel B. Silver

              which is a clear sign of corporate shillings.

              As is the 2 downvotes you've received at the time of writing this :) Here's a couple to help redress the balance (counting the icon)

      5. Kiwi Silver badge

        Re: FTFY @badvok

        It's not a "sign up" for most users.

        If you go with the "express" settings during your first run of your machine, all (or at least most) of the slurping stuff is turned on.

        Which, BTW, is almost certainly illegal under New Zealand Law. The user is not being given the ability to make an informed consent. And no, expecting the user (generally computer illiterate people who buy a machine at the nearest big box) to know that they need to research this stuff and learn what to turn off does not count.

        It has to be "opt in", and to "opt in" requires truly informed consent, not a lack of understanding of what the default settings mean.

        MS need to be gone. Badvok, there is nothing to be gained by defending this behaviour. How can someone who has the intelligence to turn a computer on see this as something even close to being OK?

        1. David McCarthy

          Re: FTFY @badvok

          Maybe this is also illegal in the UK. What is ICO doing about it?

          1. HelpfulJohn

            Re: FTFY @badvok

            "Maybe this is also illegal in the UK"

            It is. It is unlawful under several computer misuse acts, and, because it breaches section three, the data protection act. However, MS have more lawyers than me so taking them to task over it would be idiotic. Even *mentioning* it is probably grounds for a libel and slander case brought by them.

            If they care enough, Which they most likely do not.

            I'm too small to worry them.

            "What is ICO doing about it?"

            Apart from fuck all? Fuck all.

            Aluminium foil suit time: Microsoft collect all of this data. *They* don't use it but they can sell it to those who do. Those who do are the NSA in USAlia and the lovely guys at GCHQ in UKland, as well as any other mass surveillance group.

            Probably also Goo---- (mustn't mention them. Lawyers could be listening.)

            Why? Did you think a *Government* agent was set up and empowered to protect *us*?

            Really?

            Anyway, has anyone of us ever taken MS to the ICO? Or to court for breach of the data protection acts? Has anyone even tried?

          2. Eion MacDonald

            Re: FTFY @badvok

            Nowt! At least in public. This shows the level of IT incompetance in our 'classics' educated civil serviec.

      6. brainout
        Big Brother

        Re: FTFY

        Doesn't matter, and of course you can't see it, they HIDE that stuff. Sickening Win10 fanboys use that HIDING as an excuse to claim no such data is collected, but hey, it's BY CONTRACT that they can collect whatever they want, whenever they want.

        The actual contract terms are in several places, so I had to create a thread about it in a new forum I created (new since August, due to Win10), here: http://brainout.net/frankforum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=59

        Forum now has a lot of topics. No tracking, don't want your real name or social or id or birthdate or even email to join (board doesn't email, no ads, no mods, no tracking, I need anonymity so everyone else gets it too).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FTFY

      Whilst I'm not defending them for collecting it, I think it's pretty refreshing to see that a company can be open about what they do collect. So many hide it, or try to.

      1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        Re: FTFY

        At the end of the day, so far each and every loving patch they do try to slip through has had a full description attached detailing what it's collecting in the online kb entry. That's the level of candor I wish the others would put into their update processes.

        1. John Tserkezis

          Re: FTFY

          "At the end of the day, so far each and every loving patch they do try to slip through has had a full description attached detailing what it's collecting in the online kb entry."

          Using "Windows update" in the description doesn't count. Sorry.

        2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        3. Steven Roper

          Re: FTFY

          "so far each and every loving patch they do try to slip through has had a full description attached detailing what it's collecting in the online kb entry."

          Identically labelling every update as "This update resolves issues in Windows" is not what I would call "candour." I don't have time to go online and individually check the entries for 3 dozen updates every week, nor should I have to. They should, at a minimum, state right in the update description: "This update remedies a security vulnerability" or "This update collects [x] data and transmits it to Microsoft for [y] reasons."

          That I would consider candour, because then I can decide if I want the update on the spot without having to click around on the internet. But of course MS will NEVER do that because then everyone would reject all the "telemetry" updates!

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: FTFY

        "I think it's pretty refreshing to see that a company can be open about what they do collect."

        Which company did you have in mind?

        1. el_oscuro

          Re: FTFY

          Perhaps Ubuntu?

      3. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: FTFY

        Most companies are upfront about the data they collect and what they plan to do with it if one just slogs through the "privacy" policy and EULA.

        The "Dollar Shave Club" scam in the US states very clearly that they intend to sell your information to anybody that will give them a buck. The lure is cheap razors delivered by mail every month. No thanks, I buy name brands from the big box stores in bulk about once every two years when they are on deep discount.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    "Microsoft’s reputation as a trusted consumer brand."

    Eh?

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: "Microsoft’s reputation as a trusted consumer brand."

      "Eh?"

      You know: "Rabid weasel in a henhouse", That type of rep.

      If you feel that's just too harsh, shorten the original:

      "Microsoft’s reputation as a trusted con"

  4. ZSn

    Surprising

    Yes, it seems suprising that even Microsoft can be this blatant. I know that it has a justified reputation for monopolistic behaviour spanning decades, total indifference to what the user actually wants, price gouging... oh perhaps it doesn't seem so surprising after all.

    Perhaps they looked at what Google could get away with and thought that they wanted a slice of that pie

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Surprising

      > Perhaps they looked at what Google could get away with and thought that they wanted a slice of that pie

      The difference is, perhaps, that Google gives away free services for your data.

      Windows is a product that you have to buy and it still screws you over.

    2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: Surprising

      "Perhaps.."?

      You think?

  5. Antonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    "damaging Microsoft’s reputation as a trusted consumer brand."

    Oh crap, censorship's cranked up to 11 again and damaging El Reg’s reputation as a trusted brand.

    Need the headstone icon back ------>

    1. JudeKay (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: "damaging Microsoft’s reputation as a trusted consumer brand."

      Horse puckey, anonymous. But I'll look into the headstone thing...

  6. Hairless Biker
    Windows

    I'm not one for foul language,,,

    but couldn't Microsoft be a little more honest and rename it the 'Connected User Networking Telemetry Service'?

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: I'm not one for foul language,,,

      It's just a shame that the old saying about "Roses by any other name" also applies to compost heaps, even if the smell isn't as sweet...

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: I'm not one for foul language,,,

        Service

        Linked

        Usage

        Reporting

        Package

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The Scroogled campaign positioned Microsoft itself as the ethical alternative; the occupier of the moral high ground.

    For a while, it was."

    Was it? I didn't actually think anyone had fallen for their advertising, I am proved wrong.

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      No, not fallen for it as a characterisation of MS as such. But as a characterisation of Windows (at the time). Not so any more though. And, as someone mentioned, can we now even trust that Windows 7 won't be ruined just so it won't matter any more if we move on to 10 or not? I'm not so sure.

      Perhaps XP will get a final maintenance release as well, just so it too can be a telemetry device?

  8. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Great Mug!

    When can we get them fro the El-Reg Shop?

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