Microsoft Goes all in with surveillance: new “Recall” feature will record everything you do on your PC


Microsoft has unveiled a controversial new feature called “Recall” for Windows 11, sparking widespread privacy concerns. Recall essentially turns personal computers into surveillance devices by continuously recording everything users do on their screens – including apps, messaging, documents, websites, and video calls.


According to Microsoft, Recall employs advanced AI to “help you remember things” by analyzing your past activities, conversations, and files. You can search back through this recorded data using visuals, text, or voice commands. However, privacy experts are sounding the alarm because, to function, Recall must continuously monitor and log all computer usage, even private chat logs and sensitive information.


Unprecedented Surveillance Capabilities


While Microsoft claims “Recall” data is stored locally and not uploaded to the cloud, the system still represents an unprecedented level of built-in surveillance for an operating system used by billions worldwide. Recall produces comprehensive records of people’s entire digital lives, whether they are aware of it or not.


The cybersecurity risks are also massive. These screenshot logs containing extremely sensitive personal data could potentially be exposed through hacking or legally accessed. It puts journalists, activists, and anyone valuing privacy at risk of having their computer constantly store everything they do.


Will the monitoring data captured by Microsoft “Recall” really stay private, “local only” on your computer?


How Microsoft’s Policies “Evolve” over tim

Interestingly, Microsoft’s policies have shown a concerning trend of “evolving” over time, often in ways that erode user privacy. For instance, Microsoft’s virtual assistant, Cortana, collects voice data to improve its speech recognition capabilities. Initially, Microsoft claimed this data was “anonymized” and “stored locally,” similar to claims Microsoft is now making about privacy of “Recall” data.

However, in 2019, it was revealed that human contractors were listening to a “small portion of voice recordings” to “improve Cortana’s accuracy.” Microsoft then updated its privacy policy to clarify that human review of voice data “may” occur.


Another example involves Office 365 data storage. Microsoft had claimed that customer data stored in Office 365 would “not be used for advertising purposes.” However, in 2019, it was discovered that some Office 365 ProPlus users’ data was being sent to Microsoft’s servers for targeted advertising, even though these users had not consented to such data collection. (See source 2 below)


Similarly, with Windows 10 and telemetry data, Microsoft collects information from devices to improve the operating system. Initially, Microsoft claimed users had control over the level of telemetry data shared. However, in 2018, it was revealed that Windows 10 Home and Pro editions did not provide users with the ability to fully disable telemetry data collection. (See source 3 at the end of this article).


These instances highlight a pattern where Microsoft’s policies and practices have “evolved” in ways that undermine user privacy and control over personal data, often contradicting their initial claims.


No Easy “Opting Out” Option


Perhaps the most disturbing aspect is that Microsoft is simply pushing this AI surveillance out to Windows users through updates rather than making it optional. Recall is a mandatory feature on the new “Copilot+” PCs, which Microsoft is pushing as the “future” of Windows, branding it as an “improvement” which “should” be desired by users.


So, if you want a modern Windows PC from those companies, you must enable this AI monitoring system – there’s no easy way to opt-out. Critics argue that Microsoft is abusing its Windows dominance to strip away digital privacy rights and force people to make dystopian tradeoffs for new features.


As AI grows more powerful, Microsoft seems to prioritize gaining control over everyone’s data over protecting user freedoms. Recall ushers in a concerning era where constant spying is a seemingly unavoidable part of using a personal computer, at least for computers running the Microsoft Windows Operating System.


There’s a better way.


Discover The Linux Alternative: A Path to True Privacy


For those deeply disturbed by Microsoft’s invasive new “Recall” surveillance feature in Windows 11, there is a powerful alternative – the Linux operating system.


Unlike Windows, which is proprietary software controlled by a corporation, Linux is open-source (meaning, we can see what’s in the source code, unlike Windows, where the source code is closed and ‘secret’) and Linux is developed collaboratively by a community of volunteers.


This fundamental difference means Linux is free from the profit motives and data-mining incentives driving Microsoft’s erosion of digital privacy.


Transparency and User Control


When you use Linux on your personal computer, you avoid the issues plaguing Windows: invasive telemetry, forced updates containing new surveillance, lack of transparency about what’s running on your machine, and the ever-shifting policies that continually reduce user autonomy over time.


With Linux, the code is open for anyone to inspect, modify, and strip out any undesired functionality. You are in full control, not at the mercy of an opaque corporation.


Forging Your Own Path, Free from Big Tech Surveillance


As companies like Microsoft aggressively pursue monetizing every aspect of the digital experience through surveillance capitalism, Linux allows you to forge your own path without big tech constantly looking over your shoulder.


You get to decide what data to share and what to keep private – not have that decision made for you through forced updates and “policy evolution” undermining previous privacy promises.


A Profound Shift in Power


For average users weary of Microsoft’s increasingly hostile stance towards privacy and personal autonomy, embracing the Linux ecosystem represents a profound shift in power dynamics.


When you discover the world of Linux and Free and Open Source Software, no longer are you merely a peasant in Microsoft’s dystopian new world, but a master of your own digital domain.


This liberation from corporate surveillance – switching your computers to Linux – may require some technical learning curve, but for those unwilling to be subjected to Windows’ Orwellian monitoring systems, migrating to Linux is an empowering step towards lasting digital freedom.


Follow to learn everything you need to know about leaving “big tech” computer operating systems behind, and switching to, and learning all about Linux!


[2] Source for quote about “evolving security” of Office 365:


[3] Source for quote about telemetry data collection from Windows 10: