Windows 11 could soon let you see which apps might have been spying on you

Start11 on Windows 11 in an office, displayed on a PC
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Stardock - kathayut kongmanee)

Windows 11 has a neat new privacy tool which is now in testing, and allows you to see what applications have recently accessed sensitive bits of hardware like your webcam.

The Privacy Auditing feature was shown off on Twitter, by Microsoft’s VP for Enterprise and OS Security, David Weston, and it’s present in a new preview build of Windows 11 (being tested in the Dev Channel, where the earliest preview versions of the OS are put through their paces).

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The feature nestles under Settings (in Privacy & security > App permissions), where you can view a list of recent activity to see, for example, which apps have accessed your microphone in the past week, or maybe your camera, another obvious point of call for checking up on any potentially suspicious activity.

It also keeps tabs on applications which have accessed your contacts, or details relating to your location, phone calls and more.

In each instance, the user is also told the exact time and date of the access made to the hardware or function in question.

Windows 11 Privacy Audit feature

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Analysis: A useful way to keep an eye on your applications

It’s good to see that the coverage provided here is pretty wide-ranging in terms of keeping tabs on various sensitive bits and bobs, from the obvious cameras and mics, through to contacts and other such details.

This is great info to have in terms of transparency relating to what the software on your system is getting up to. Periodically checking through the privacy audits present in Settings could potentially yield some interesting findings, flagging up apps that you wouldn’t have otherwise known had got their claws into some more sensitive aspects of your system (or highlighting something malicious that has flown under the radar, even).

Microsoft has long had a troubled reputation for privacy when it comes to Windows, particularly since Windows 10 came along, so it’s also good to see the software giant taking a positive step forward on this front – one that should help Windows 11 users maintain a better level of vigilance and overall security when it comes to their PC. Assuming the feature makes it past the testing stage, of course...

Via Bleeping Computer

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).