Who’s looking through your Windows?

I’m not a tech blogger, nor do I play one on TV. I would if anyone asked, I’m sure. But let’s be honest, no one is asking.

But sometimes, things in life just sort of can’t be ignored. I recently bought a little tablet hybrid. Meaning it’s a tablet with a detachable keyboard. I put much thought into my purchase. I chose one with decent reviews from a company that seemed to have good customer service. I chose one that can be charged from 100 -240 V AC, 50/60 Hz universal so it could be charged about anywhere, it has good hardware, good ports including a SD card slot that can give me 128 GB extra storage besides the 64 GB it comes with. It has a trackpad, I found out last year trying to blog off my PlayBook that inserting hyperlinks without a mouse or trackpad is a hyper-nightmare. It comes in Rouge Pink.

It also came with Windows 10.

Perhaps I should say the poor thing came infected with Windows 10. I haven’t read much good about Windows 10, and personally I left windoze behind when I bought a new computer infected with Windoze Vista. The word Vista still makes me a little nauseous.

After obsessively checking the FedEx website about 5 times a day the little thing finally arrived. I charged it for the requested 9 hours while I was at work. Hey, I couldn’t use it, but I could look at it’s shiny pink shell. And smile. Ahh yes, the plans I have for you little hybrid!

Finally, 9 hours into my shift and it’s the “q” word. In my business we don’t say the “q” word meaning lack of utter chaos. Saying the “q” word aloud brings down utter chaos upon us. I fire it up and am greeted with it’s cheerful start up logo, then it’s time to set it up. The first screen basically says we are going to set things up, like time, date and language. The “next” button is in it’s usual spot to the bottom right of the page. There is some small writing in the lower left. It says you can customize settings. Ok, let’s. I click on that. Had I done the express set up as I suspect many do this is what I would have missed.

Privacy per Micro$oft
Privacy per Micro$oft

Followed by

The spyware known as Windows 10
The spyware known as Windows 10

I’m sure you are not shocked to find all these settings were turned ON by default. All of them.

And once you shut those off? You also need to go into app permissions, because by default their apps (many of which can’t be uninstalled) have permission to access everything. To get a browser different than Microsoft’s Edge to work required using command line and doing a command line reset. You know, the usual stuff.

So, automatically connect to things shared by my contacts. MicroSnoop will know who all my contacts are. It tells you it is collecting your browsing habits and sending the data to MicroSnoop, it basically collects everything about you and sends it to MicroSnoop. In fact, it is basically turning my little rouge pink traveling buddy into one little tracking device. Sort of like having Bill Gates staring through the window at everything you do…the voyeur.

Pity the people that want to keep their Windoze 7 or 8. Windoze 10 is being pushed off on them if they have recommended updates turned on. In addition to badgering them frequently to upgrade, it’s now just downloading and installing it. Oh, and on Windoz10, you can NOT turn off installing updates, at least not like before.

I realize we are already being tracked like crazy. A friend of mine was telling me about recently doing a google search for HazMat gear. When she logged into Facebook the next time she was greeted with many ads for HazMat materials. You know, the usual stuff that pops up on most womens Facebook pages.

This article has a more humorous take on it, but it’s still true.

Many states are trying to implement the REAL ID act by hook or by crook, in my state it was by crook, but hey, we have a dem governor. There are a host of potential expensive problems created for citizens and their states. But you have to admit, sure will be handy having all that data on people in one giant storage bin. Biometric data, friends, surfing habits, web searches. Even obamacare helps out. The majority of the veterans denied their Second Amendment rights have been turned in by the Veterans Administration. Now even if you’re not a veterans you too can experience the fun since your medical records are now electronic and can be accessed by a whole lot of people other than your doctor. Gee, even your children help out with data collection on the family unit via common (rotten to the) core helpfully pushed along by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. Shock, gasp, awe, astonishment? Not so much.

So with all that tracking going on, I really don’t need my little pink hybrid friend ratting me out to MicroSnoop and any other giant data bases with whom they chose to share information. It’s no one’s business if I surf Drudge, Israeli news sites, Second Amendment sites and listen to the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Matisyahu, Tom T. Hall, Glenn Campbell and Yossi Azulay on YouTube. It just isn’t.

I waffled on writing about this, but when I saw this line in Kit’s column

Understanding how to set up and maintain those networks and infrastructure is the difference between a stagnant movement and a liberty resistance.

I decided to go ahead. Crucial to networks is their ability to do their job, as it needs to be done. For a few hundred years tyrants have known to maintain control, data collection is invaluable.

 

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15 thoughts on “Who’s looking through your Windows?”

  1. Can you put Linux on that thing?

    I’ve written extensively about the perils of Win10 on my blog (note that several researches found that “disabling” those settings didn’t actually stop it sending the data to MacroSnoop). I’ve heard of multiple companies which have banned the use of Win10 (healthcare providers are terrified of HIPAA violations since the “mere metadata” sent can apparently include email addressed and names). More fun: M$ retrofitted some of that snooping into Win7/8 as well. Fortunately, there are fairly easy ways to fix 7/8.

  2. Those who must use Win10 should consider Spybot Anti-Beacon.

    “Spybot Anti-Beacon is a standalone tool which was designed to block and stop the various tracking (telemetry) issues present in Windows 10. It has since been modified to block similar tracking functionality in Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 operating systems. Anti-Beacon is small, simple to use, and is provided free of charge.

    It also works for Win7/8, which I find helpful since I use some legacy software for work that won’t run in Wine very well (it chokes on 100+ MB graphic files), and still have Win7 on one machine.

    For those determined to stay with earlier versions of Windows, and heartily tired of that Win10 “Upgrade!” pop-up:

    GWX Control Panel.

    It kills the OS updates that try to force the updowngrade.

  3. Mr. Bussjaeger (thanks for the beacon tip) is correct. Turning those settings off only attempts to stop third parties. MS is capturing your entire index daily and in some instances the log files as well.

    Oh look, it says Smart(anything) right there in the first item.

    SMART = Tracking You.

    1. Re beacon, at install it immediately blocked an item. Checked the MS log file and beacon actually blocked reporting about itself being installed. Sweet.

  4. I finally switched to Linux for the internet box.

    Most of my truly personal stuff is on the other box, which has never been connected to the internet.

  5. I am of the opinion that life has become too difficult in this modern age to effectively cloak ourselves, our online habits, and the behaviors which we choose to partake in completely. The best thing we can hope for is to stay under the wire as much as possible and resign yourself to the fact that you are a little fish in a big pond, and continue to work for more privacy in our laws, pushing for our right to privacy from federal prying. It may one day happen, if we continue to work toward that end, and can convince enough people of the worth of it.

    Fatalistic, perhaps, but realistic, probably.

    1. Second the Mint recommendation. I have it on multiple machines, and it runs well on older computers (heck, I put it on an old ASUS netbook with 1GB RAM, and it was faster than XP that it had before). If you have a live CD/thumb, installation is a breeze, and I have a standing offer to build a live thumb for those who don’t get how to burn the ISO.

      1. I’ve been trying to find something of approximately “netbook” power that can accept a linux install. I’m not worried about the power of the system so much as the rumors that many have hardware Linux doesn’t support.

        1. Hi Steve

          Most netbooks will accept Linux. The only proviso is you may have to plug a cable into your modem /router to download the correct wireless driver.

          Jay

      2. I would love to know how you got that ASUS to recognize and boot from that live USB thumb drive rather than ignoring it and defaulting to Windows.

        1. I just set the drive boot sequence in BIOS. It was an old machine, so maybe that’s not available on newer ASUSes. Could they have eliminated thumb drive boot as a security measure?

  6. At least one of the reasons my personal laptop runs XP and I have turned off all the automatic updates.

  7. It is a 64 bit system on this T100HA, it is one of the newer Asus with the Cherry Trail chip rather than Baytrail. To get it to boot ANY flavor of Linux you have to download a file that is a 32 bit EFI file. Then you can get it to boot from a usb drive. Mint doesn’t have it, and I think I have to add some more files before I can get it to boot Mint, which is what I run on a couple of my lappys. Love Mint. But the problem is with the T100 (about any of the models) is you can get Linux more or less on, then you need to bootstrap the loader which I’ve never had to do before. THEN if you’re a member of a google+ group for T100 and Ubuntu you can start downloading patches to get wireless to work, the rotation, the sound, the bluetooth. And kernels, which help some of the hardware work better. But again, since the HA has the Cherry Trail, there hasn’t been as much work done on it as the Baytrails. There IS a post out there from a guy who got Ubuntu 15 to work on the HA, and I think most of his stuff works now. I tried booting Kubuntu and Ubuntu 16 last night hoping that they might recognize more hardware out of the box, but they both gagged out on loading for live boot. One thing I have found is VERY different from any other computer I’ve ever put Linux on, is you do NOT change the boot order in bios or UEFI, you use the Windows advanced start up to boot to a EFI found in the recovery program of windows, not the recovery partition, but the recovery program under all settings. It’s more of an adventure than I want, but I really really need to get this little thing running Linux. Windows 10 is not an option for me or it. I’m quite sure it hates 10. But it’s weird, you have to have that 32 bit .efi file to get the T100HA to recognize the usb drive with the live boot session on it, even though it ships with 64 bit windoze 10.

  8. I’m in the process of setting up a W-10 computer. (Under duress.) As I was setting up the wireless connection I noted a checkbox for “Connect to any available wireless network.”
    It was, of course, checked.

    Any available wireless network? That’s just insane.

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