UK’s ICO investigates Microsoft’s Recall feature over privacy concerns

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"Recall Investigation"

The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is analyzing Microsoft’s new feature, ‘Microsoft’s Recall’, suspected of continually recording a user’s screen activities. The ICO is probing into the risk the feature could imply for users’ privacy, as the inadvertent collection of sensitive information could happen.

The Recall feature, specified for Copilot+ PCs, preserves encrypted snapshots of user activities on the device itself and not on the cloud. The saved images can be accessed at will, providing a safe net against data loss. However, privacy advocates dub this a ‘privacy disaster’ and have prompted the ICO to investigate thoroughly.

These advocates express concerns about potential data breaching and suggest reinforcing privacy laws surrounding such products. Transparency in data usage, clear guidelines on data management, and provision for appropriate redress mechanisms assume importance. Microsoft, in its defense, clarifies the voluntary nature of the feature and emphasizes that the data remains local to the device.

The Recall feature scrutinizes a user’s past activities, from file access to browsing history.

UK’s ICO probes Microsoft’s Recall feature for privacy issues

Critics worry about potential privacy issues while others argue it boosts productivity by facilitating easy access to past work. Critics, however, suggest less intrusive options for those uncomfortable with the Recall tool’s detailed analysis of activities.

Microsoft consistently reminds that users have control over the activities captured. Private browsing through the Microsoft Edge browser is exempted from monitoring. Incorporating this policy addresses certain privacy issues, enabling users to protect their browsing history. The company maintains that users continue to have the upper hand on their data by permitting them to deactivate activity capture on specific sites.

In conclusion, advocates urge users to refrain from activities they wouldn’t want publicly visible while using the Recall feature. Emphasize on privacy and immediate reporting of suspicious activity are advised to prevent unauthorized data access. Microsoft stresses that it does not record activities carried out during private browsing sessions, promoting safety and security for all users.

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Becca Williams is a writer, editor, and small business owner. She writes a column for Smallbiztechnology.com and many more major media outlets.