why Elon Musk is angry about a new Windows feature

why Elon Musk is angry about a new Windows feature
why Elon Musk is angry about a new Windows feature

The “Recall” feature was designed by Microsoft to help users easily find what they have already seen or done on their PC. However, several Internet users believe that it represents a danger for their privacy.

Make life easier for users. This is what Microsoft wanted to do with “Recall”, a feature that the company presented at a conference on May 20. Working like a photographic memory, it makes it easy to find “everything that you’ve never seen or done on your PC,” assured Carolina Hernandez, product director of the company.

To achieve this, Recall uses screenshots, taken by Windows, of what the user is doing on their computer. And this worries the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the British equivalent of the CNIL (National Commission for Information Technology and Liberties).

“We are inquiring with Microsoft to understand the safeguards put in place to protect user privacy,” the authority said in a statement.

Insufficient guarantees

Microsoft has in fact ensured that Recall data is only stored locally. “Recall leverages your personal semantic index, built entirely and stored on your device,” the company said in a blog post. “You can delete the captures in question (…) You can also filter applications and websites so that they are never recorded. You always have control of your data,” the company also affirmed.

These guarantees were not enough to reassure the ICO. “We expect organizations to be transparent with users about how their data is used and to only process personal data to the extent necessary to achieve a specific purpose,” the authority said .

Concerns around privacy

The ICO is not the only one worried. On X (formerly Twitter), many Internet users expressed their concerns. Computer developer Molly White even called Recall spyware.

Elon Musk also added his two cents by comparing the feature to “an episode of Black Mirror”, adding that he will deactivate it. A criticism which is obviously not trivial, in the position of the billionaire: he is above all a direct competitor to Microsoft in the AI ​​race, with the creation of his own competing artificial intelligence, Grok.

Other users are further concerned that following the theft or loss of their device, the Recall feature could be used to access their sensitive information, such as their passwords.

Faced with these criticisms, Microsoft reiterated that data saved locally will never be sent to the cloud or to the web. A company spokesperson assured the American site VentureBeat that the data was stored in an encrypted format on the user’s computer, but also that it would not be used to train its AI models.

Microsoft also told the BBC that it cannot access this information, just like “anyone who does not have access to the device.” The company added that even a novice hacker would have to physically access the device, unlock it and log in before being able to access saved screenshots.

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