Dear @Microsoft, I DON’T want Windows 10, and here’s why

I’ve seen this often enough, but typically once, maybe twice a week. However, this is the third time today I’ve had this pop-up message today. The answer is NO, NO, and NO! Windows 10 is a huge problem for a lot of people.

Microsoft keeps pushing Windows 10 onto consumers.

Microsoft keeps pushing Windows 10 onto consumers.

Firstly is the privacy issue. Windows 10 apparently uploads all your personal data, including passwords, to the Microsoft servers in the US (The Guardian). The issue here is the sovereignty of data. I’m not in the US, I’m not American, I do nothing wrong and no threat to humanity, but yet the NSA collects all my data, and will undoubtedly collect all my computer usage details, including passwords.

Secondly, it’s just too creepy. Not only does MS want to make a mirror copy of my PC onto their servers, and the NSA will be able to look into it. The creepy pop-ups like this is unnerving. I got this Windows 8 tablet before Windows 10 was even announced. Now my W8 is telling me W10 is a thing. This can only happen if MS has been loading onto my current computer their advertising, and they have. Each day, the advertising / prompts are slightly different. Last week they were saying that 100 million computers are now infected with W10. To me MS has entered a slippery slope of advertising. I’m sure soon Operating Systems will start to have advertising on them, much in the same way as you see advertising on your favourite website like Dilbert. I guess it won’t be long until you see unwanted advertising pop-ups interrupting your concentration and your work. Currently, my computer is an advertising free-refuge… well, my Linux Ubuntu is. W8 currently has started to advertise W10, so this ad-free experience is now ruined.

So Microsoft, please stop pushing W10 onto me. The constant interruptions will just make me hate it more, and frankly, it makes you look desperate.

Don’t update to Windows 10

Normally , I would not give any strong opinions on anything. However, this does raise a whole lot of concerns and worries. I’ve seen reports of privacy violations with Windows 10 (Computer World, Slate, TechRadar, Tech Republic). I am a pragmatic person, and not easily shaken or swayed by things.

Photo: CC Raymond Shobe, 2015, https://flic.kr/p/wHCzQP. Windows 10 upgrade.

Photo: CC Raymond Shobe, 2015, https://flic.kr/p/wHCzQP. Windows 10 upgrade.

For an example. If I do a research project with students, I have to ask for their permission to collect data and information about them. If they say ‘no’, I simply cannot collect data or information. It’s the law in Australia, the US, the UK, and international laws of human rights. If someone first agreed, and then later withdrew from the project, I must stop collecting data from that person. If that person also says they don’t want me to retain any data, and that it must be destroyed or deleted, I simply must. It’s the law.

However, Microsoft’s new Windows 10 violates this principle of permission, and right to withdraw, and the ability to demand that data about me is or is not collected, or that data about me is destroyed. Ars Technica reports that despite all the privacy settings being switched on, the new OS still phones home, some times with identifiable information (The Guardian, 13th Aug 2015).

It was already reported about the creepy advertisements on the OS, where people playing Solitaire receive personalised advertisements (The Guardian, 31st Jul 2015). Also, how much personal data is uploaded to MS, including wifi passwords (The Guardian, 31st Jul 2015). This has got to be bad for a lot of people. With thanks to Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, we know about the mass collection of people’s personal information by the US government. This mass collection is done regardless of my rights, permissions, law, of innocence or guilt. I’m not American, I don’t care about the US, and have no interests there. So, of course I would object to a foreign government collecting my personal information. What American would feel comfortable having all their personal information collected by the Chinese government? However, the collection of my personal information by a foreign government is surely going to happen by default as soon as my new Windows 10 OS is installed, and despite what my privacy settings are on. This is bad for journalists, political activists (regardless of their allegiances), and even for legitimate human research. Even if you say, “I have nothing to hide”, police forces are still staffed by humans who have their own personal agendas, and will eventually have access to that information about you. That is to say, they can look at your personal data and make deliberately false assumptions about you. Consider your internet browsing history, and the automatic pop up ads you sometimes get. What story could someone make up about you?

Update 31st March 2016: If you have Windows 10, and want to fix the privacy problems, Tech Radar offers some help, and Slate give a great guide on how to install Windows 10 and organise the privacy settings as you go.