Windows 10: Microsoft announces new privacy settings for EU customers

You get a new option for managing diagnostic data. Microsoft gives companies full control over telemetry data. The feature is limited to Windows 10 Enterprise subscriptions.

Microsoft has launched new option that allows enterprise customers to collect diagnostic data under Windows 10 can configure. The settings that are currently available as a public preview are primarily aimed at users in the European Union or in the European Economic Area who are subject to the General Data Protection Regulation.

Privacy (Image: Shutterstock)Microsoft currently offers only two options for the collection and transmission of telemetry data: You can leave the scope of the data collection, which could also include personal information, to Microsoft – or you can switch off the transmission of diagnostic data completely. However, the latter is not an option for some companies because this data is required to obtain customized security and driver updates via Windows Update.

With the new settings, enterprise users can make themselves data providers and control which data is recorded and forwarded to Microsoft. However, the software company only offers this option as part of a Windows 10 Enterprise subscription including Microsoft 365 E3 and E5.

If this option is active, the customer becomes a data controller. Microsoft now only takes on the role of data processor. Via Microsoft Azure, customers can also respond to GDPR requests from users within their own organization, for example answering deletion requests or restricting the processing of certain data.

According to Marisa Rogers, privacy officer at Microsoft for Windows, browsers and devices, the development of the option started a few months ago. But it also helps companies to react to current developments: the Court of Justice of the European Union overturned the data protection agreement Privacy Shield about a week ago. In this context, the new option allows companies to restrict the transfer of data to Microsoft and thus also the possibilities criticized by the court to transfer data to US authorities and secret services.

To participate in the preview, Windows 10 Enterprise Version 1809 or Windows Server 2019 and newer is required. Companies must also register for the pre-release with an Azure Active Directory Tenant ID. The new data processor service is then available to administrators via group policies or mobile device management software such as Intune. Microsoft also provides detailed documentation in a support article. The final version will be launched in about six months after the preview is completed.

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