DEV Community


Discussion on: Microsoft is changing now

kspeakman profile image
Kasey Speakman • Edited

At the same time, they are collecting more user data than ever. Non-optional telemetry and usage data as well as selling data about your habits to ad companies. Every product they make includes some telemetry, and all of it I'm aware of is turned on by default and some of it cannot be disabled (thinking here of Window 10 and SQL Server Management Studio). VS Code has telemetry by default. Here's a complaint thread about .NET Core, which collects data about your usage unless you set an environment variable.

.NET core should not SPY on users by default

I should note that Google and Facebook pioneered this trend. Even some linux distros have data collection. It is not just Microsoft, but at least before Windows 10 they were not so heavy-handed about it.

It is following a (very sad) industry trend of providing "free" stuff which exfils unknown quantities/qualities of data about you. I guess most users don't seem to care about their privacy nowadays.

Edit: I should say that I am on the Microsoft stack. Some good stuff there like F# (also open source). Some things are moving in the right direction like you mentioned above, but privacy there is taking leaps and bounds backward (no different from the rest of the industry). I suppose their data collection bodes slightly better than Google or FB, who makes all their money off mining your personal data and the ads delivered with that.

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

And on the other side, they are introducing end-to-end encryption in Skype. It's a pretty complicated soup of good and bad but I definitely agree with your sentiment.

kspeakman profile image
Kasey Speakman

Yeah, there are some bright spots. Like a couple of years back, MS sued the US government because the FBI kept getting gag orders on most of their data requests. This prevent Microsoft from doing what it agreed to do with its customers, which is provide notice of warranted data disclosures. Though I'm sure nothing came of it, I liked the principle of the thing.

But in general, the marching orders up there seem to be that every product must have some kind of data collection built it, which form the basis of dev decisions. Having a product vision and engaging with customers... a dead practice, I guess. Then there are those products which go the extra mile of actually being funded by selling your collected data (Windows 10 and ad-based Skype come to mind, which still collects your "metadata" as mentioned in the Wired article).