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    Microsoft Launches PCs Which Can Recall Everything You Do

    On May 20, Microsoft announced a new category of Windows PCs— Copilot+PC— which allows users to find everything they have seen when using their computer. Copilot+PCs organize information based on relationships and associations and allow users to scroll through a timeline of their work across every application, website, and document. 

    According to a report by the BBC, the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is making an inquiry into the recall feature for more information about the safeguards Microsoft has in place to ensure user privacy when using the feature. An ICO spokesperson told the BBC that firms must “rigorously assess and mitigate risks to peoples’ rights and freedoms” before bringing any new products to market. 

    How does the recall feature work?

    In its presentation of Copilot+PC’s recall feature, the company explained that if you search for a specific item like a “blue dress” using the Recall feature, it would scan through your web browsing history, and any other mention or visual match to the search term, to find you wherever the item was mentioned. 

    To remember all this information, Recall will take frequent snapshots of users’ active screens every few seconds. Once the user finds the snapshot that they were looking for in Recall, it will be analyzed to offer the user options to interact with the content. The feature will enable users to open the snapshot in the original application in which it was created. As the feature is refined over time, Recall will open the actual source document, website, or email in a screenshot.

    Does the recall feature pose privacy concerns?

    While some have expressed concern that this feature poses privacy risks, and compared it to ‘spyware’, Microsoft states that all the snapshots taken by Recall will be encrypted and stored locally on a user’s PC. Users can choose to delete snapshots of certain items and adjust/delete timelines of their work through settings. Users can also filter apps and websites from ever being saved which reduces the risk of sensitive information being tracked by the feature. 

    Recall also doesn’t take screenshots of certain kinds of content, including InPrivate web browsing sessions in Microsoft Edge. Microsoft says that Recall’s snapshots are linked to specific user profiles on a computer and not shared with other users on the device. The snapshots are also not shared with Microsoft for targeted advertising.

    However, it must be noted that as per Microsoft’s frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the feature, it does not practice content moderation. “It [Recall] will not hide information such as passwords or financial account numbers. That data may be in snapshots that are stored on your device, especially when sites do not follow standard internet protocols like cloaking password entry,” the company explained.


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    The post Microsoft Launches PCs Which Can Recall Everything You Do appeared first on MEDIANAMA.

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