- 130 products covered in massive policy shift including Windows
- Windows users to be tracked for “hate speech”, new policies allow Microsoft to use your personal data for sweeping new purposes, including to train their AI.
Big news–Microsoft is enacting substantial changes to its services agreement on September 30th, 2023 that privacy advocates argue will expand the company’s ability to monitor users and utilize their personal data to train artificial intelligence.
130 Microsoft Products covered by the new policy changes
The new policies will cover over 130 Microsoft products including Windows, Office, Teams, Skype, and Xbox. The agreement contains vague references to scanning user content and sharing data with third parties. Experts from Mozilla found the terms so unclear they could not ascertain the full implications for customer privacy.
Of particular concern is that Microsoft now claims rights to all user generated content across its ecosystem of products and services. This data can potentially be leveraged to train Microsoft’s AI services like Bing Chat according to permissions in a new “AI Services” section of the agreement.
Mozilla started a petition demanding Microsoft publicly clarify if and how it will utilize customer data to improve AI algorithms. The petition site explains Microsoft has avoided transparency on using emails, documents, audio recordings and other user content to train AI models.
Potential for censorship of dissenting voices
The updated agreement also grants Microsoft sweeping rights to penalize users for broadly defined offenses such as “hate speech” and “offensive” content. Accounts can be disabled or deleted without explanation. Critics fear this will enable censorship of dissenting voices, as has been seen on other “big tech” platforms
Overall, digital rights groups warn Microsoft’s new policies prioritize profits and AI ambitions over user privacy. They liken the changes to an “always on” surveillance system recording activity across Microsoft products, which can then be mined to boost the company’s AI services. Consumers may find it hard to avoid the far reaching new rules.
Learn about Free and Open Source Software and the Linux Operating System, as an alternative to Microsoft’s sweeping new policies
For users concerned about privacy, free and open source software provides an alternative to escaping Microsoft’s grip. Linux-based operating systems like Ubuntu and Linux Mint allow far more control over data collection and transparency into how user information is handled.
Likewise, open source office suites like LibreOffice are not mining documents to train proprietary AI systems. While migrating away from familiar Microsoft products has a learning curve, the Linux ecosystem offers freedom from closed source software like Microsoft Windows that treat customers as data sources first and users second. The concerns over Microsoft’s policy changes are driving more advocacy for open platforms that embody privacy by design rather than surveillance by default.
Jeff.pro has helped train thousands of freedom-loving Americans how to use Linux and FOSS, a complete replacement for Microsoft Windows on your computers.
Discuss the Linux computer Operating System as an alternative to Microsoft Windows, in the Jeff.pro Technology Forums at https://forums.jeff.pro
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