Windows 10 will get a privacy boost with Fall Creators Update

Microsoft is set to further bolster Window 10’s privacy tools in the upcoming Fall Creators Update, having revealed new changes people can expect when they download the free update from October 17.

In a blog post Marisa Rogers, Windows Devices & Group Privacy Officer, explains the new features that will be added to Windows 10 with the Fall Creators Update.

Two of the major changes to how Windows 10 handles your private information occur in the setup process. During installation, users will be able to access an in-depth Privacy Statement that will explain the privacy implications of the data that Microsoft wants to collect, and what it does with that data.

Users will get quick access to this screen during installation

Users will get quick access to this screen during installation

Many people won’t want to read pages of text, so Microsoft is also adding a ‘Learn More’ button to the privacy settings screen, which takes you directly to specific settings for location, speech recognition, diagnostics, tailored experiences, and ads in Windows 10.

As Rogers says, “We want you to have all the information about your privacy setting options readily available so that you can make an informed decision about your privacy and how your data is used.”

A new permissions prompt will appear when you install apps from the Windows Store

A new permissions prompt will appear when you install apps from the Windows Store

Better control over app permissions

The Fall Creators Update will also add privacy prompts when you download and install apps from the Windows Store. Once the app is installed, you’ll be asked to provide permission for the app if it wants access to important functions on your device, such as your camera or microphone, or if it wants to access the data in your contacts list, calendar and more.

This will work in a similar way to how apps need to ask permission to access your data on Android and iOS devices, so we’re pleased to see it implemented here. It’s worth pointing out, however, that apps you’ve already installed from the Windows Store will not have those permission prompts – you’ll need to go into Privacy settings in Windows 10 to change them. It also won’t affect apps or programs you don’t install through Windows Store.

The Fall Creators Update will also give businesses using Windows 10 Enterprise  a greater degree of control over how much diagnostic data is shared with Microsoft.

When it launched, Windows 10 was plagued by privacy concerns, and it looks like Microsoft is continuing to hand more control back to its customers over what private data is shared, while being more transparent over what it does with the information. Will it be enough to curtail the criticisms? Time will tell.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.