Windows 10 has come under a lot of criticism for it’s invasive default privacy settings, and it seems Microsoft has not been paying attention.
With the new update, Windows 10 will now allow parents to get “weekly reports” of literally everything their child has been looking at. While it can be used to say, stop your child from looking at adult content, their are fears that it could out young children or young teenagers to their parents before they are ready for that to happen.
As with all the other privacy settings on Windows 10, this is automatically turned on. It lets you create a child accounts with restrictions placed on them. This is nothing new, child accounts have been in Windows versions for years that will limit access to certain websites and not allow the installation of programs. What is new, though, is the monitoring and reporting of what the child is accessing.
If the feature is not disabled, parents will receive an email from Microsoft that tells you exactly what websites the child visited, the hours per day spent and minutes used per app.
Some are calling out the feature as “creepy” and saying it is an invasion of privacy.
Colin Rice, who is a gay parent, said when speaking to Gay Star News: “I had a mom that smothered me, and I know she would have done this to me if it was around when I was young. This could be very damaging to parent/child relationships. And apart from that, it’s just really creepy. It’s the modern equivalent to reading your kid’s diary. You need to make sure they’re safe, but you need to let them have their own space as well.”
If you’re a parent – not to worry, this feature is optional. If you wish to turn it off, go to Family Account, and turn off “email weekly reports to me”, as well as “actively reporting”, so basically this will turn off the reporting but still leave in place the restrictions on adult content.
A Microsoft spokesperson has issued an official statement on this, which unfortunately did not address the issue: “Windows 10 puts customers in control by giving them choices about how information is used to deliver personalized services and experiences. We also offer customers a number of options in Windows 10 privacy settings, and customers can adjust their Windows 10 privacy settings at any time.”
This doesn’t really address the issue at all, so this article will be updated if Microsoft ever issue a more thorough statement.