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UK Privacy Watchdog Probes Microsoft’s Controversial “Recall” Feature
Thursday, May 30, 2024

The UK’s data privacy regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), is investigating Microsoft over potential privacy concerns with its recently announced AI-powered “Recall” feature for Windows PCs. Microsoft Recall is designed to continuously capture screenshots of a user’s PC activity and use AI to create a searchable computer usage history. While these screenshots would be stored locally, Microsoft has stated that sensitive information like passwords, addresses, and health data would not be filtered out.

The ICO has initiated discussions with Microsoft to gain a comprehensive understanding of the measures in place to safeguard user privacy. The regulator has underscored the necessity for organizations to be forthright with users about the utilization of their data and to process personal data only to the extent that it is essential.

Cybersecurity experts have sounded the alarm about the potential for hackers and malicious entities to exploit this vast collection of personal data if devices are compromised. The continuous operation of Recall in the background also raises concerns about users’ lack of awareness regarding the exact nature of the data being collected and stored, further exacerbating the potential privacy risks.

Microsoft has not yet provided full details on how it will protect Recall data or what user controls will be available. As the powerful new feature draws scrutiny from regulators and critics alike, the tech giant may need to adjust to allay privacy fears. As Microsoft’s innovative Recall feature comes under the microscope, it is a critical reminder of the profound ethical responsibilities accompanying technological advancements. While the promise of enhanced productivity through AI-generated usage histories represents a notable stride in personal computing, user privacy and data security must remain at the forefront of such developments. Users and watchdogs will closely observe how Microsoft balances innovation with privacy.

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