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Austin

Does Windows 7 and Internet or Windows Browsers protect my privacy?

Question

Ray writes:

"Hello Austin,

I read your
when browsing the internet. My question to you is if you are using Windows Explorer 9 browser does it send info back to Microsoft or anyone else when using one of the search engines i.e. Duck Duck Go or Startpage which would negate the whole purpose of those engines. Reason I’m asking is I don’t trust the system and don’t fully understand OS Windows 7 well enough to make the call for myself. Would you please explain?

Thanks,

Ray"

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3 answers to this question

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Hi Ray,

Good question. If an Internet Browser did track your browsing, it would be a huge compromise to privacy. It would likewise be a huge deal if the Windows 7 operating system tracked your information and sent it back to Microsoft. That still wouldn't be quite as bad as what happens online when using Google, as only Microsoft would have your information vs. Google and hundreds of advertising companies and websites tracking it.

Fortunately, the Windows 7 operating system itself does not do this, short of if you enable the Customer Experience Program and the Genuine Microsoft software validation. And even in those cases, only anonymous system hardware, cd-key, and performance data is sent back. You can also disable whether either of those happens. Windows XP included a search companion which sent search terms to Microsoft when an internet search was performed, but that has been done away with in Windows 7. Your privacy is safe in Windows 7. Just watch out for individual applications you install that might be transmitting data, though usually you can stop that from happening with the Windows Firewall.

Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox do also not do this to any malicious extent. Although if you have Google or another mainstream search engine set to your Omnibar (address bar) search it will collect data on all searches performed in the address bar, and if instant search is enable (like in Chrome) anything typed into the address bar can be tracked. Firefox (and even the Thunderbird email client) have been known to call home to Mozilla's servers to transmit basic census information, but this can be disabled.

If you use any of Google's online products, everything you do is tracked and sent to Google. This is how it works with any online web-app or "cloud" solution. Free and "Cloud" service comes at a price; the price of your privacy. Even if you pay for "cloud" service, the company still has access to your data. Example ala Google Apps for business.

Ideally it is best to check the terms of service and privacy policy for each piece of software you use, specifically internet browsers as having one of those track would be the most invasive.

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  • 1

Hi Ray,

Good question. If an Internet Browser did track your browsing, it would be a huge compromise to privacy. It would likewise be a huge deal if the Windows 7 operating system tracked your information and sent it back to Microsoft. That still wouldn't be quite as bad as what happens online when using Google, as only Microsoft would have your information vs. Google and hundreds of advertising companies and websites tracking it.

Fortunately, the Windows 7 operating system itself does not do this, short of if you enable the Customer Experience Program and the Genuine Microsoft software validation. And even in those cases, only anonymous system hardware, cd-key, and performance data is sent back. You can also disable whether either of those happens. Windows XP included a search companion which sent search terms to Microsoft when an internet search was performed, but that has been done away with in Windows 7. Your privacy is safe in Windows 7. Just watch out for individual applications you install that might be transmitting data, though usually you can stop that from happening with the Windows Firewall.

Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox do also not do this to any malicious extent. Although if you have Google or another mainstream search engine set to your Omnibar (address bar) search it will collect data on all searches performed in the address bar, and if instant search is enable (like in Chrome) anything typed into the address bar can be tracked. Firefox (and even the Thunderbird email client) have been known to call home to Mozilla's servers to transmit basic census information, but this can be disabled.

If you use any of Google's online products, everything you do is tracked and sent to Google. This is how it works with any online web-app or "cloud" solution. Free and "Cloud" service comes at a price; the price of your privacy. Even if you pay for "cloud" service, the company still has access to your data. Example ala Google Apps for business.

Ideally it is best to check the terms of service and privacy policy for each piece of software you use, specifically internet browsers as having one of those track would be the most invasive.

 

Thats dexter i had similar concerns....cleared many points..thanks

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Hi Ray,

Good question. If an Internet Browser did track your browsing, it would be a huge compromise to privacy. It would likewise be a huge deal if the Windows 7 operating system tracked your information and sent it back to Microsoft. That still wouldn't be quite as bad as what happens online when using Google, as only Microsoft would have your information vs. Google and hundreds of advertising companies and websites tracking it.

Fortunately, the Windows 7 operating system itself does not do this, short of if you enable the Customer Experience Program and the Genuine Microsoft software validation. And even in those cases, only anonymous system hardware, cd-key, and performance data is sent back. You can also disable whether either of those happens. Windows XP included a search companion which sent search terms to Microsoft when an internet search was performed, but that has been done away with in Windows 7. Your privacy is safe in Windows 7. Just watch out for individual applications you install that might be transmitting data, though usually you can stop that from happening with the Windows Firewall.

Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox do also not do this to any malicious extent. Although if you have Google or another mainstream search engine set to your Omnibar (address bar) search it will collect data on all searches performed in the address bar, and if instant search is enable (like in Chrome) anything typed into the address bar can be tracked. Firefox (and even the Thunderbird email client) have been known to call home to Mozilla's servers to transmit basic census information, but this can be disabled.

If you use any of Google's online products, everything you do is tracked and sent to Google. This is how it works with any online web-app or "cloud" solution. Free and "Cloud" service comes at a price; the price of your privacy. Even if you pay for "cloud" service, the company still has access to your data. Example ala Google Apps for business.

Ideally it is best to check the terms of service and privacy policy for each piece of software you use, specifically internet browsers as having one of those track would be the most invasive.

 

With that said, I still use Google for too much than I probably should. Their services are just so fantastic that it is hard to stay away from them.

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