Dutch regulator reveals potential Microsoft privacy breach

Netherlands privacy watchdog has revealed potential breaches while testing Microsoft software changes

The Dutch privacy watchdog said Microsoft could be breaching data privacy rules in the way it remotely collects some user data.

The Dutch Data Protection Agency (DPA) said it discovered practices, associated with Windows Home and Windows Pro users that could be in breach of data privacy rules.

According to a Reuters report DPA unearthed the potential breaches when testing privacy protection changes in Windows by Microsoft last year.

The DPA said the testing revealed that Microsoft has complied with the agreements made but added that “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 Dutch ergulator has passed the information to the regulator in Ireland, where Microsoft has its European headquarters. The Irish Data Protection Committee (DPC), said: “The DPC has had preliminary engagement with Microsoft and, with the assistance of the Dutch authority, we will shortly be engaging further with Microsoft to seek substantive responses on the concerns raised.”

A Microsoft statement 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.

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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