The one section of the privacy statement that attorneys should be aware of states:
“We may also access, disclose and preserve information about you when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to:
- comply with applicable law or respond to valid legal process from competent authorities, including from law enforcement or other government agencies;
- protect our customers, for example to prevent spam or attempts to defraud Microsoft’s customers, or to help prevent the loss of life or serious injury of anyone;
- operate and maintain the security of our products and services, including to prevent or stop an attack on our computer systems or networks; or
- protect the rights or property of Microsoft, including enforcing the terms governing the use of the services—however, if we receive information indicating that someone is using our products or services to traffic in stolen intellectual or physical property of Microsoft, we will not inspect a customer’s private content ourselves, but we may refer the matter to law enforcement.”
This would suggest that the data really isn’t anonymous and could be turned over to law enforcement or some other government entity. The good news is that you can actually opt out of all the features that might be considered invasions of privacy. Of course, most users will find that they are opted in by default.
It’s a fairly simple matter to adjust the privacy settings in Windows 10. First, open Settings and then click on Privacy. From there just walk through all the options and turn off anything that you are not comfortable having Microsoft collect. We would certainly also suggest that users dump Cortana, Siri, Alexa and any other voice assisted service. After all, you really don’t know what the vendor is doing with the data or how long they retain it.