Microsoft: Your Computer, Your Data. That Is a Good One

March 23, 2021

The online news stream is chock full of information about Microsoft’s swing-for-the-fences PR push for Discord. If you are not familiar with the service, I am not going to explain this conduit for those far more youthful than I. Like GitHub, Discord is going to be an interesting property if the Redmond crowd does the deal. If we anticipate Discord becoming part of the Xbox and Teams family, the alleged censorship of software posted to GitHub will be a glimpse of the content challenges in Microsoft’s future.

The more interesting development is the “real” news story “Microsoft Edge Could Soon Share Browsing Data with Windows 10.” The idea is that a person’s computer and the authorized users of the computing device will become one big, happy data family.

The article states:

Called share browsing data with other Windows features, it is designed to share data from Edge, such as Favorites or visited sites, with other Windows components. Search is a prime target, and highlighted by Microsoft at the time of writing. Basically, what this means is that users who run searches using the built-in search feature may get Edge results as well.

And what does Microsoft get? Possibilities include:

  • Federated, fine grained user behavior data
  • Click stream data matched to content on the user’s personal computer
  • Real-time information flows
  • Opportunities to share data with certain entities.

What happens to the user’s computer if said user does not accept such integration? The options range from loss of access to certain data to pro-active interaction to alter the functioning of the user’s computing device.

Why is this such a good idea? Microsoft, like Amazon, Facebook, and Google realize that the days of the Wild West are coming to an end. There are new sheriffs with new ideas about right and wrong.

Thus, get what one can while the gittin’ is good as the old times used to say.

But “What about security and privacy?” you ask? One response is, “That’s a good one.” Why not try stand up?

Stephen E Arnold, March 23, 2021


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