Tech News

Windows 10 Is Spying on You, BlackBerry Adopts Android… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 08-01-2016

Microsoft shows off its data collection, BlackBerry adopts Android for 2016, Motorola is no more, John Legere curses the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and get set for Game of Thrones.


Windows 10 Usage Stats Reveal Spying

We now know just how much Windows 10 is spying on everybody, and it’s all thanks to Microsoft itself. In a Windows Blog post, Microsoft details a number of stats related to Windows 10 usage. However, these usage stats inadvertently reveal how much data the company is collecting on Windows 10 users.

For example, Microsoft knows that over 44.5 billion minutes have been spent in Microsoft Edge across Windows 10 devices over the last month. And that Windows 10 users have asked Cortana 2.5 billion questions since launch. And also that more than 82 billion photos have been viewed within the Windows 10 Photo app.

There are two distinct schools of thinking here. One, led by Forbes and BetaNews, claims that this amounts to spying of the highest order, and condemns Microsoft for embarking on such a program. The other, led by Ed Bott at ZDNet, claims this is nothing more than analytics, and it’s the same sort of harmless data harvesting that all big tech companies do.

We will leave you to make your own minds up, but suffice to say we have been reporting on Microsoft’s new privacy policies Everything You Need to Know About Windows 10's Privacy Issues While Windows 10 has some issues that users need to be aware of, many claims have been blown out of proportion. Here's our guide to everything you need to know about Windows 10's privacy issues. Read More since launch, and detailing how to ensure your Windows 10 data isn’t gobbled up Windows 10 Is Watching: Should You Be Worried? Since its release, Windows 10 has been dogged by rumors concerning user privacy. Some of these are accurate, whereas others are myths. But where does Windows 10 stand on privacy, really? Read More . Spying or analytics, this kind of thing still makes a lot of people feel very uncomfortable.


BlackBerry Goes All In On Android

BlackBerry will not be releasing a BlackBerry 10 handset this year, with the company instead doubling down on its adoption of Android. According to CEO John Chen, in an interview with CNET, BlackBerry plans to release one new product in 2016, and, like the BlackBerry Priv Read BlackBerry Priv Reviews, Try Cortana for iPhone... [Digest] See whether the BlackBerry Priv lives up to the hype, Cortana comes to the iPhone, Medium lets writers ignore readers, GOG launches its fall sale, and when Star Wars and Star Trek collide. Read More before it, that device will run on Android.

The BlackBerry Priv looks to be selling rather well, ensuring BlackBerry’s immediate survival. However, that means the company has little reason to release a new BlackBerry 10 device, when its first Android-powered smartphone is doing OK. BlackBerry 10 10 Reasons To Give BlackBerry 10 A Try Today BlackBerry 10 has some pretty irresistible features. Here are ten reasons why you might want to give it a go. Read More may return in the future, but, for now at least, BlackBerry is going all in on Android.

Say Goodbye to Motorola

Goodbye, Motorola, Hello, Moto by Lenovo. The Motorola brand name is being phased out, with Lenovo slowly transitioning to a new brand called Moto by Lenovo. Which, we’re sure you’ll agree, is really catchy. It literally rolls off the tongue with no effort whatsoever.

Lenovo acquired Motorola from Google Lenovo Buys Motorola, Google Glass Games, Super Bowl XLVIII Beats [Tech News Digest] Lenovo buys Motorola from Google, precious Twitter handle is stolen, Nintendo executives take pay cut, video games for Google Glass are revealed, virtual space battle costs real money, Twitter improves mobile apps. Read More in 2014, but the brand name of the company which invented the cellphone in 1973 is now seen as surplus to requirements. Fans of the hardware need not worry though, as Lenovo is committing to continuing with the Moto X line of smartphones How To Get The Best Moto X Features On Your Android Device Today The Moto X boasts several features you won't find on other Android devices at the moment. The first of these is the Active Notifications feature, which lights up the screen with the latest notification. Another... Read More .


John Legere Hates the EFF

We think it’s fair to say John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, isn’t a fan of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). In fact, he barely knows who or what they are, besides someone or something making trouble for him and his company.

This admission of ignorance came during a Q&A session on Twitter. The EFF asked John about T-Mobile’s Binge-On program T-Mobile Allows Unlimited Netflix, And That's Bad News For All of Us Allowing Netflix to stream even when you're data is maxed sounds great, doesn't it? But this could spell doom for the future of the Internet as we know it. Read More , which has been accused of throttling YouTube Microsoft Blocks Adware, T-Mobile Throttles YouTube... [Tech News Digest] Microsoft hates adware, T-Mobile hates YouTube, Google hates passwords, one Russian man hates Fallout 4, and Boston Dynamics hates you sleeping soundly in your bed at night. Read More , and John replied with a sweary video embedded in a tweet. It’s NSFW but definitely worth watching.

The EFF responded to Legere’s attack with a blog post describing itself as “an advocacy organization fighting for civil liberties in the digital world,” funded by “the donations of tens of thousands of regular people”.


As reported by Ars Technica, Legere later backtracked, tweeting, “Let me be clear- I know who the @EFF is. I’m sure they do a lot of great things for a lot of consumers, but innovation can be controversial!”

Game of Thrones Returns In April

And finally, HBO has announced the start date for Season Six of Game of Thrones. The sixth season of the show, based on the books by George R.R. Martin, will debut on April 24th, 2016. As usual, the season will comprise of 10 episodes, with bloodshed, shocks, and nudity all likely to play a part.

With Game of Thrones being a particularly geeky television show, we have started covering it in recent months in our Entertainment section. So be sure to check out intriguing Game of Thrones fan theories, the real history behind Game of Thrones, and how to avoid Game of Thrones spoilers.

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Are you bothered by the amount of data Microsoft is collecting on you? Should BlackBerry continue pushing its own mobile operating system? Are you sad to see the Motorola brand disappearing? Is John Legere right to question the authority of the EFF? Are you excited about the return of Game of Thrones?


Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Related topics: BlackBerry, Game of Thrones, Net Neutrality, Windows 10.

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  1. daniel
    May 23, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    ugly guy . unsubscribed .end of story!

  2. TravellerInTime
    January 22, 2016 at 8:59 am

    The elephant in the room is, of course, not analytics, but all the other information that is being gathered, and stored, by MickeySoft, NSA, FBI, CIA, and... for all we know... ISIS.

  3. KPKlukken
    January 14, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    Windows 7 (if you aren't careful) also installs Analytics as a "suggested/Optional" update. I assume it will eventually end up as a critical update so yes if you install all of Microsoft's updates to windows 7 and not just the critical updates then you too have Microsoft watching you.

  4. Tim T
    January 12, 2016 at 9:56 am

    I know you are a journo and your job is to stir the pot and say outrageous things to get reactions, but come on, even for a journalist the porridge is a bit thin here!

    Privacy is about named individuals, what they do, who they are. Analytics is about aggregated information on populations and has little or no bearing on the individual. The emotive term "spying" implies a breach of privacy for a named individual. Nothing that you have reported Microsoft as saying, in any way demonstrates that they are spying on or have an interest in individuals, or that this data collection can be or is being related to individuals.

    I don't know if Windows 10 does or does not collect data on named individuals, (does MS really store information that says, hey, Dave Parrack spent 20 minutes using Edge yesterday?) but I'm just pointing out that the blog you quoted does not support the spying allegation in any way.

    • Dave Parrack
      January 12, 2016 at 10:21 am

      That's fair comment. But I did offer the other point of view and invite everybody to make their own minds up. Which you have done.

      Sure, I chose the more emotive word for the headline, but that's part of my job. Would anyone click on "Microsoft Is Using Analytics"?

  5. Sledge Sparrow
    January 11, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    "With Game of Thrones being a particularly geeky television show, we have started covering it in recent months in our Entertainment section."

    • Dave Parrack
      January 12, 2016 at 12:20 am

      You know you don't have to read those articles, right? Anyway, buh-bye, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

  6. MadBot
    January 10, 2016 at 5:18 am


  7. Anonymous
    January 10, 2016 at 4:47 am

    So Dave, Microsoft is bad because they're spying/tracking my usage. Fine. A quick analysis by Ghostery on THIS very page shows 7 different trackers and 5 analytics beacons. Could you enlighten us what exactly these things are doing? Ensuring our privacy is it?

    • Dave Parrack
      January 12, 2016 at 12:21 am

      I don't know, I'm a writer, not the developer. In the same way you can choose whether to use Windows 10 you can also choose whether to visit MUO.

      • Anonymous
        January 12, 2016 at 12:44 am

        @Dave: Guess you're not getting my point. It's the age of analytics. Everybody does that to stay alive in business. There is nothing evil in analytics these days. Evil is when you sell the data. I understand why Microsoft does it, even though they took pot shots at Google for the same thing few years back with their cringe worthy Scroogled campaign.

        The same way I understand why MUO does it. And no, I'm a loyal reader of MUO for years; you just can't shoo me away like you did the sparrow above.. :P

        • Dave Parrack
          January 12, 2016 at 10:19 am

          You make a valid point, actually. I guess this can most accurately be called analytics, because it's collecting general data. However, who knows what Microsoft will do with that information in the future. I guess the same can be said of us, but I trust my bosses here more than I trust Microsoft.

          Was I a little harsh on the other guy? The way I see it, if someone is going to stop reading a whole website because it publishes the occasional Game of Thrones article, they're impossible to please.

    • Anonymous
      January 12, 2016 at 11:32 pm

      One obvious difference is that you can block them, switch them off delete them., and they're not buried in the guts of your operating system with no user control over what they do.

      They don't continue to run in the background even though the control panel says they've been deactivated. They don't download a new copy after the user has deleted them.

      The level of intrusion in Windows 10 is unprecedented and anyone handling potentially important information should really think about whether it's safe to use.

  8. Mike
    January 9, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Win 10 ain't spying on me because I still have Win7!

    • Dave Parrack
      January 12, 2016 at 12:21 am

      Are you sticking with it or will you be upgrading before the free offer ends?

      • Don
        January 12, 2016 at 2:55 pm

        I asked for the free upgrade back in August. It still hasn't come through.