Microsoft menaced with GDPR mega-fines in Europe for 'large scale and covert' gathering of people's info

Found on The Register on Saturday, 17 November 2018
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The dossier's authors found that the Windows goliath was collecting telemetry and other content from its Office applications, including email titles and sentences where translation or spellchecker was used, and secretly storing the data on systems in the United States. That's a no-no.

The investigation was jumpstarted by the fact that Microsoft doesn't publicly reveal what information it gathers on users and doesn't provide an option for turning off diagnostic and telemetry data sent by its Office software to the company as a way of monitoring how well it is functioning and identifying any software issues.

One example: if you use the backspace key several times in a row – suggesting you aren’t sure of the spelling of a particular word – or look up or translate a word through its system, then Microsoft stores the sentence before and after that event.

Sweet. Microsoft consequently ignored requests and inquiries from users about its extensive data collection habits. Even if they replied, it was only to downplay and sugarcoat everything. Now Microsoft will hopefully get a very hefty bill for violating the privacy of the users and for not giving them an option to truly opt-out. Let's hope for a penalty of 4 percent of the company's total worldwide annual sales.