In August 2019, Microsoft released a statement that they have been collecting voice data from your interactions with their services like Cortana, Skype, and Windows Voice Recorder. They are carrying this out with the help of their employees and independent contractors. All this is done to heighten the capability of their products that use Voice Recognition Software.
How does Microsoft collect data from its user’s?
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Every time you enter your details while signing up for a free/paid service administered by Microsoft, they store the information and have the right to use it for the betterment of their products. Needless to say, they don’t sell it eCommerce companies, so put your mind at ease.
One way to prevent Microsoft from storing your personal information like name, location, occupation, audio/video chats, etc is by simply making changes to the privacy settings of whichever service you use. For standalone applications, you will have to read the terms and conditions thoroughly.
What do they do with your data?
Microsoft uses your voice samples to personalize the products/services for your preference. Every user speaks or distinctly pronounces sentences. The algorithms(developed with Artificial Intelligence) analyze your voice and extracts certain information which later is used in improving and developing their products.
Secondly, they also use your data to understand your necessities and wants. Based on the data, they send you promotional content, offers, discount coupons, and ads.
The personal data is processed both with software–as stated above– and with manual intervention. The algorithms are constantly upgraded with more data coming in from the user’s end. The goal is to let computers perceive, learn, reason, and assist in decision-making to solve problems; in the same way, a human being would do.
The change won’t be drastically affecting you as Microsoft do not sell your data to eCommerce companies such as Google and Facebook do. Every voice or text search you do in Google is registered and send to their cloud servers for further analysis. A simple search for a “Home remedies for the common cold” will notify the online medical stores in your region. Later, you can expect to see tons of adds for cough syrup linking to the local medical store website.
By using free services offered by Microsoft, you can expect to receive emails and notifications asking your upgrade or purchase the premium version of the free software. It is your choice to buy it or not. Remember that, every time you use a free service, you are trading your data for the service or product.