Monday, August 3, 2015

Windows 10 doesn't have spyware

It is spyware:
I really want to upgrade to Windows 10, but have begun seeing stories come out about the new Terms and how they affect your privacy. It looks like the default Windows 10 system puts copies of your data out on the "cloud", gives your passwords out, and targets advertising to you. The main reason I am looking to upgrade is that Bitlocker is not available on Windows 7 Pro, but is on Windows 10 Pro, and Microsoft no longer offers Anytime Upgrades to Windows 7 Ultimate. However, I don't want to give away my privacy for security. The other option is to wait until October to see what the Windows 10 Enterprise version offers, but it may not be available through retail. Are the privacy minded Slashdot readers not going with Windows 10?
It's a pretty reasonable thread at Slashdot - meaning nobody accuses Bill Gates of putting puppies in a blender.  But the default Windows 10 privacy settings are really, really bad.  Basically they're Google snooping on everything that you do, except that they make you pay for the privilege of using their OS.

This is a good article on all the things you need to do to turn this off.  It's unclear whether the monthly Windows Update security fixes will reset the privacy settings to the defaults; Windows 10 users will want to check this each month.  It's less unclear whether Microsoft will share your usage habits with NSA - of course they will.

Or you can just switch away from Windows.  Microsoft is clearly looking for other ways to milk its customer base, and this snoop-o-matic presumably is only the first of many initiatives from Redmond.  Here's a balanced video from a couple years back discussing the pros and cons of switching to Linux from Windows.  Me, I made the jump a long, long time ago and have never looked back.

No built-in spyware on Linux, and you don't have to keep checking to see if some security fix just stealth changed your settings.  If you surf the web, read email and RSS feeds, and do Office app work, Linux will be fine for you.  If you game, why don't you have a Playstation?


Tim Covington said...

Unfortunately, my work precludes me from switching to Linux. To many pieces of software that are not available on Linux. However, I am seriously considering switching to Mac because of the privacy issues. The best part is, for the one or two pieces of software that are Windows only, I can set the mac up to dual boot to Windows.

matism said...

You can also, Tim Covington, set up Linux to dual-boot to Windows. I'm writing this on my 64-bit Ubuntu OS, but the computer can boot to Windows 7 when I need to use the video editing software. My laptop also runs Ubuntu 64-bit, but dual-boots to Windows XP when I need to use the transmission programming software. The laptop was an inexpensive budget box when I bought it in 2005, and only has 2 Gytes of RAM, but it runs the Linux fine. And I take the wireless card out whenever I boot to Windows, so I don't worry about Bill's buggy bloatware letting me get infected.

Old NFO said...

I'll hang onto Win 7Pro as long as I can, then I'm going to MAC.

Eric Wilner said...

I've been mainly using Linux since the 90s, but need a (fairly low-spec) Windows machine in the lab to run proprietary debuggers and such, and occasional Windows in the office for TurboTax and MS Office (since .doc files that have been extensively edited accumulate format rot and cease to interchange with OpenOffice).
Since my current workstation and laptop both include hardware virtualization support, the "office Windows machine" is now a VirtualBox VM with XP installed on it (I'll be migrating to the Win7 VM eventually; it's set up, but I haven't moved the essential apps over yet). Since it lives behind the firewall, and gets used only for narrow purposes that don't involve opening strange files nor web sites, I don't worry too much about security updates.
The VM approach turns out to be a handy alternative to dual-booting - and it allows for making an exact copy of the guest OS image to run elsewhere (one of the other VMs I use is a down-rev version of Linux, with exactly the toolchains that are needed to reproduce certain firmware builds, and it's replicated on my laptop and at the client site).
So using Linux as the primary OS, and firing up a Windows image when needed, is reasonably painless these days. There are a few websites that just refuse to work right with any browser that's available on Linux... but I tend to write those off as badly built and likely infested with malware anyway. (And: some semi-malicious sites that drive Windows users batty turn out to be well-behaved when viewed from Linux!)
Oh, I hear Win10 supports virtual desktops? Welcome to the 1990s, Microsoft!

Mrs. S. said...

In the Mac world they have released a new version of iTunes. How nosey is it? How can the feature of being able to access all your media from any device be done without automatically dumping all your files to cloud storage? I don't want that. Is there any way to turn that feature off? Once they have your files, will they start charging rent for storage fees? Where does it end?

genericviews said...

Linux DOES have spyware. But you have to install it yourself. Haha.

Makes me wonder if MS is also doing the same thing to it's other OS versions (7, and 8.1). Seems like they could easily throw it into the next "security patch" and everyone would be on the monetizing train whether they wanted it or not.

And for that matter, as trends go, Apple can't be far away from doing it too.

R.K. Brumbelow said...

MAC = Media Access Control (One of the 7 layers of networking design)
Mac = a computer from Apple

As for Linux vs Windows vs Mac: The winner is OpenBSD

drjim said...

I've been using Linux since the early 1990's, and it's great to see how far it's come.

I remember when it took me a week to get my modem operating correctly, and then another day or two to figure out how to download Netscape using only the command line.

Now it's more Plug-and-Play than Windoze is!

Paul Bonneau said...

"This is a good article on all the things you need to do to turn this off."

The question I have is, are these things actually turned off, or just hidden from view? The temptation must be enormous, and what are the poor abused customers going to do if they find out? Move over to Linux? :-)

I have been on Linux (Lubuntu at the moment) for many years now. I recall how I felt when I first booted up Puppy Linux off a CD - "Ah, I have control of my own computer again!" If I have to run some Windows thing, I just go down to my wife's computer. She doesn't seem to mind spyware operating systems. But that is very rare. Linux is so easy any more. I can pull a computer out of a dumpster and run it, it is so sparing in resources.

I tried openbsd a couple of times, but it is really for servers, not desktops. I am running freebsd on my router though, via pfsense (which is so far beyond standard router code it is ridiculous).