Microsoft faces another European investigation over Windows 10 privacy concerns

Windows 10 boxes

Worries about privacy in Windows 10 show no signs of abating, with Europe expressing ongoing concerns about Microsoft's data gathering and telemetry.

Having already asked Microsoft to make modifications to Windows, the Dutch data protection agency (DPA) has since looked into what changes the company has implemented. Having found "new, potentially unlawful, instances of personal data processing", the agency is calling for an investigation by the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), Microsoft's lead EU privacy regulator.

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Full details of exactly what the DPA is concerned about have not been revealed. However, referring back to the changes already made in Windows 10 and subsequent checks into them, the agency says: "Microsoft has complied with the agreements made. However, the check also brought to light that Microsoft is remotely collecting other data from users. As a result, Microsoft is still potentially in breach of privacy rules".

The agency also says:

Microsoft is permitted to process personal data if consent has been given in the correct way. We've found that Microsoft collect diagnostic and non-diagnostic data. We'd like to know if it is necessary to collect the non-diagnostic data and if users are well informed about this.

Does Microsoft collect more data than they need to (think about dataminimalization as a base principle of the GDPR). Those questions can only be answered after further examination.

Because Microsoft has European headquarters in Ireland, the Irish Data Protection Commission was asked last month to get involved. The DPC will now be engaging with Microsoft to see if any violations have occurred.

In a statement given to TechCrunch, a Microsoft spokesperson said:

The Dutch data protection authority has in the past brought data protection concerns to our attention, which related to the consumer versions of Windows 10, Windows 10 Home and Pro. We will work with the Irish Data Protection Commission to learn about any further questions or concerns it may have, and to address any further questions and concerns as quickly as possible.

The company adds: "Microsoft is committed to protecting our customers' privacy and putting them in control of their information. Over recent years, in close coordination with the Dutch data protection authority, we have introduced a number of new privacy features to provide clear privacy choices and easy-to-use tools for our individual and small business users of Windows 10. We welcome the opportunity to improve even more the tools and choices we offer to these end users".

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