With the next major release of the Windows 10 operating system, scheduled for April-May 2018, Microsoft plans to let users see what telemetry data the company is collecting from each of their devices.
The company announced today initial tests for this new feature as part of its Windows Insiders program.
According to Marisa Rogers, the Windows Devices Group privacy officers, Microsoft plans to release an app on the Windows Store named the Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer.
This app is already available via the Windows Store for Windows Insiders only, and according to Rogers, it will let users filter through the data collected from their device. Microsoft says the app will provide information on collected data such as:
As the name suggests —Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer— the app won't let users delete any data. Its usefulness comes from the ability to help PC owners and system administrators determine what data is collected, and look for methods to disable some of this collection for privacy or compliance reasons.
The addition of this new app is also a continuation of a policy Microsoft started last year when it said it would be more open about user privacy.
Last year, this took form in the addition of a pre-installation/pre-update Privacy Settings screen that lets users set up a global data collection policy for each Windows 10 operating system.
Users received the ability to choose between the Full and Basic data collection plans, and Microsoft later disclosed what it was collecting for each of these two plans, marking the first time when the company came clean about what telemetry data it was collecting.
Also last year, Microsoft added a Privacy section to the web dashboard of each Microsoft user account. This year, the company is expanding what data users can find on this page with new additions:
Overall, Microsoft is becoming more transparent about the data it collects, but it still won't offer a way to fully disable telemetry collection. Microsoft has always said that the data it collects is crucial to improving Windows 10 and quickly solving bug reports and that without it, Windows 10 wouldn't be the same product it is today.