back to article Giving Windows total recall of everything a user does is a privacy minefield

Microsoft's Windows Recall feature is attracting controversy before even venturing out of preview. Like so many of Microsoft's AI-infused products, Windows Recall will remain in preview while Microsoft refines it based on user feedback – or simply gives up and pretends it never happened. The principle is simple. As noted …

  1. Roj Blake Silver badge

    Domestic Abuse

    Imagine what an abuser could do with access to their partner's history.

    1. hx

      Re: Domestic Abuse

      I mean, I can only assume this is just some sad, pathetic executive's method to find out why his wife left him. Either that, or they're partnering with some authoritarian regime, or something worse, like an advertising and marketing company.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Domestic Abuse

        All of the above.

        I'd want to know if a company is using this with it's employees so I can take my business elsewhere.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Domestic Abuse

          You'll be boycotting every business on the planet. Every single Windows computer and Microsoft Office install (even ones not on Microsoft operating systems) already report back a similar amount of information to the cloud and have done for years.

          websites accessed, emails sent, applications used, everything a user interacts with on a device, etc (although not, as yet, as far as we know, screenshots taken every few seconds). It's all uploaded back to Microsoft in real time.

          All this data is sold back to, and is accessible by, organisations as a Microsoft Purview subscription.

          https://www.reddit.com/r/sysadmin/comments/14f4zxi/microsoft_purview_terrifies_me/

          1. J. Cook Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Domestic Abuse

            Well, sort of.

            Yes, it's true, but in order to get to the console where you can sift through that information, you have to be assigned a specific role to access that data, and that role is not included in the global admin by default.

            It's used mostly for businesses to monitor their employees to make sure they aren't violating data privacy laws (HIPAA, PCI-DSS, GDPR, etc.) or misusing company resources. (Purview used to be known as Information Rights Management, and as one of the reddit comments in that thread points out, consolidates all the InfoSec, DLP, and eDiscovery tools into one place, which is also a problem, because it's all in one place. Admins generally don't have time for that crap. I certainly don't have any interest in performing an investigation about what John Q Random over in department X is doing, why it involves power tools and farm animals and why they are trying to tell Jane X Random over in department Y unless I'm specifically directed to by my boss or the CIO. (And now that we've gotten ourselves a proper IT Security team, the only thing I do with those tools now is export mailboxes of people who have left the company for their supervisors to take over and pick up anything that was dropped.)

          2. david1024

            Re: Domestic Abuse

            This is already the norm in a lot of the buisness world

            -->Screenshots plus all the event logging above. sometimes even keylogging--the issue is not being able to process all that data... with the AI, it'll all get OCR'd and processed. They'll figure out an efficiency metric and penalize folks.

        2. Groo The Wanderer Silver badge

          Re: Domestic Abuse

          Personally, if Microsoft were foolish enough to make this a production feature you can't avoid installing entirely, not even a DLL reference hook anywhere, then I'll be saying "good-bye" to my Wintendo box, because playing my 15-20 year in the making collection of Steam games is not worth putting up with that kind of intrusion in my life.

          I've already spent about 5 years living on a Debian stable system before I went back to work because I couldn't afford Windows, so I've no worries nor fears about doing so now. Many of my Steam games also run just fine under Ubuntu, so I'll not tolerate this "AI" intrusion and abuse one bit further from any vendors I deal with.

          Bottom line: you try to force this crap on me, and you are GONE!

          1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

            Re: Domestic Abuse

            You are a bit late here, those apis have been there for more than 30 years in Microsoft Windows now. You know, taking a screenshot is not an entirely new thing. And it is not limited to Microsoft too.

            1. Groo The Wanderer Silver badge

              Re: Domestic Abuse

              It is the automatic, unwanted, unauthorized, privacy-invading and bank-data-collecting of screenshots by silently abusing the feature that is the concern, and you damned well know that, so stop trying to make it the CUSTOMER'S fault for agreeing to it, and stop being a butt-kissing apologist for their behavior and intrusions.

              We didn't, and WON'T.

              1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

                Re: Domestic Abuse

                Oh, a classical Wutbürger! Understood, reasonable part of brain missing.

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      FAIL

      All I want to know

      Is how to turn it off.

      I just had to replace my phone, so I got a Samsung Galaxy S24+ yesterday. I spent half the day yesterday, and most of today, turning off a load of bloatware AI-ish crap it came loaded with, like the fucking thing making "stories" from my photos.

      I'll be the first in line to join the class action lawsuits over the various intrusive privacy invasions being foisted on us.

      1. hx

        Re: All I want to know

        Install Linux. Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

        1. cyberdemon Silver badge
          Linux

          Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

          Er..

          Yes, install Linux. It's not nearly as "scary" as it perhaps used to be. Debian is great. I hear Arch and Mint are great too. In 20 years, Debian has filled all of my computing needs. Libreoffice, Octave, Python, Steam (including "windows" VR games that work fine), CAD with FreeCAD/OpenSCAD, electronics design with KiCAD, etc etc.

          Not sure what you meant by the last three words of your post though..

          Windows is making people suffer with Windows, due to their monopoly position and a belief that as a monopolist, they (Microsoft) can do whatever the hell they want, because no matter HOW bad they make their OS, most people will still suck up whatever surveillance-happy updates they throw at them..

          1. el_oscuro
            Linux

            Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

            Well as easy as it is, most users never change the defaults on their preinstalled O/S much less install a new one, so there is that. Most people would need their "computer guy" to do it.

            Installing Linux on bare metal hardware has been easier than Windows for decades. These days, it is mostly answering questions like how much space should be allocated, the computer name, language and stuff like that. Once set up, Linux "just works", even games. Steam proton works so well that I don't even bother to see what platform it is for. Starfield worked perfectly right out of the box.

            1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

              Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

              Once set up, Linux "just works", even games.

              As long as you don;t want printing, or sound, both of which sometimes work, a bit, sort of. I recently needed to use a Bluetooth device and only had to try three supposedly Linux-compatible Bluetooth dongles before I found one Linux Mint would see and after that it only took an hour of fiddling to get the device connected. Easy.

              1. cyberdemon Silver badge
                WTF?

                Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

                > As long as you don;t want printing, or sound, both of which sometimes work, a bit, sort of. I recently needed to use a Bluetooth device and only had to try ...

                What?

                TBH I don't have much firsthand experience with Mint or Gnome, but I personally use KDE on Debian and both printing and bluetooth are as easy, if not easier, than Windows. Same goes for sound. Even my bluetooth mouse worked first time and auto-connects, it's a Logitech MX Master 3. Never in the past 10 years come across a single Bluetooth controller that hasn't worked out-of-the-box either.

                But sure, go ahead and swap your privacy/security/etc for "sticking with what you know"

                1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

                  Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

                  It's inconsistency which is the problem. Sure, it may work for you and both printing and sound work on some of the computers on which I have Linux Mint installed, but it's not guaranteed. Example: I have two supposedly identical ThinkCentre PCs running the same release of Linux Mint and connected to supposedly-identical Brother printers. One will only print by USB; the other will only print by WiFi. A ThinkPad running the same release of LM can't even see the printer on the network. It's a mess.

                  1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

                    Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

                    ...versus starting up a new install of Windows 11 (which I just did):

                    - bypass the requirement for a Microsoft account

                    - bypass the Windows Hello stuff

                    - Bypass the 2fa stuff

                    - turn off all the "helpful" hints, tips, suggestions

                    - set telemetry to minimal (if that even does anything)

                    - install Office apps (Linux does that automatically)

                    - install your fave apps (VLC for media, Firefox, etc)

                    - rebooot (because you are *always* rebooting with Windows...)

                    I say again...Linux does NOT suck any worse than Windows.

                    1. Yorick

                      Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

                      Ah but you’re doing it wrong, Ser.

                      Receive your laptop with Windows pre-installed. Do not ever change the defaults, and cherish the additional helpful software (what churlish people might call bloatware) that comes pre-installed. Perceive your ISP’s landing page as “the Internet”.

                      Within 5 years, buy a new laptop with Windows pre-installed.

                      Said another way: It’s not FOR you.

                2. mike.dee

                  Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

                  Wirh Windows one could have problem with older printer. I have an old HP Deskjet all-in-one, that has the nice feature to not having DRM on cartridges. I have the installation CD for Windows XP but the drivers are only 32 bit, and HP doesn't have drivers for Windows 10. I have installed the drivers on a 32 bit version of Windows 10 a lot of time ago, but on 64 bit version it doesn't work and the installation fails. On KDE/Linux, the printer was autodetected and correct drivers were installed.

                  1. Yorick

                    Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

                    No DRM on cartridges! Won’t you think of the C-suite, Ser. How will they afford their bonuses?

              2. Law

                Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

                "recently" - if that's the case those dongles were flashed 20 years ago.

                1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

                  Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

                  One was bought about five years ago, and I'm prepared to forgive it. The other two came from Amazon two weeks and one week ago. The two-week one isn't recognised as an adaptor on my PC but works fine on my other half's identical one. Both current Linux Mint, both kernel 5.15.

              3. david1024

                Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

                TBH, I don't have issues printing or with sound. 15-20 years ago, sure. But these days, stuff just work. And the issues I do have, windows has issues too. (usually flaky hardware or just plain broke)

                There will always be flaky stuff out there... I have an all-in-one that won't install windows unless it is from the recovery image for that particular machine... doesn't mean windows is a suffer-fest to install. that machine is the issue. (but linux just works on it... there are outliers both ways on either windows or Linux)

              4. el_oscuro

                Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

                I have never had issues printing in Linux in 2 decades. For my document scanner, I have to install some drivers (which are now 15 years old). But they still work perfectly, as does the SimpleScan program that comes with most distros. Wi-Fi has been a solved problem since about 2006. Sound was also an occasional issue until about 2005.

                2005 happened to be the same year that I stopped using Windows. I had just bought an El-cheapo USB camera and was taking pictures of my kids. I used up all the space, so I needed to download them before it got dark. I initially plugged the camera into Windows, expecting to see an E: drive or something like that. Nothing. Took 30 minutes to download and install 100MB of crapware before I could copy the pictures. Just before I went back out, I also plugged the camera into my Linux computer. "A USB camera has been detected. Would you like to import your photos into F-Spot?"

                And earlier today, I decided to boot one of my work laptops in to Ubuntu to see if I could use the Office365 suite with it. Our organization uses a custom keycard TFA, so it is not trivial. I booted up it up, updated the packages and fired up Office. The TFA worked perfectly as did Teams in the first meeting I attended. In fact, everyone said they could hear me better than on Windows.

                1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

                  Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

                  I have never had issues printing in Linux in 2 decades.

                  Lucky old you. I had no issues with the printer (HP LJ1100A) I had for two decades either.

                2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
                  Thumb Up

                  Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

                  Linux will happily install and print to my ancient but extremely reliable HP Laserjet 5. It will even act as an Apple print server so my wife can print frommher iDevices.

                  Windows, using the official HP PCL5 drivers, refuses to even acknowledge that the LJ5 ever existed. TBF, this is a "feature" of the HP driver, not Windows. HP doesn't like you using printers where it can't get in and set timers and DRM.

                  1. random internet moose

                    Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

                    CUPS is the "apple print server".

              5. TheWeetabix Bronze badge

                Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

                How long ago was recently, and what flavour/version of Linux were you using? That is a completely abnormal user experience in modern times..

            2. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

              Err

              how much space should be allocated,

              That's a potential deal breaker straight away. Many, maybe most, users don't know a gigabyte from a pint.

              1. Roj Blake Silver badge
                Pint

                Re: users don't know a gigabyte from a pint.

                Easy. Eight gigabytes won't get you drunk.

                1. el_oscuro
                  Coffee/keyboard

                  Re: users don't know a gigabyte from a pint.

                  selects appropriate icon...

            3. Sudosu Bronze badge

              Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

              I generally only use Windows for gaming (EA really needs to port to Linux) and dual boot into a "less intrusive" OS for my other uses.

              The only issue is it takes a while to patch if I have not loaded Windows in a while.

              You can buy and install a cheap SSD to keep them apart in case you want to reinstall one or the other.

              1. el_oscuro

                Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

                My first Linux gaming rig was a MAME arcade cabinet that I built in 2006 running Lincade. The custom video drivers for my Wells/Gardener CRT are so good that vector games like Asteroids and Tempest look like actual vector games despite it being a CRT.

                And my latest gaming rig is a System76 running PopOS. Every single game I have tried under Steam proton works perfectly. Starting a new game of Starfield now.

          2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

            Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

            I'm writing this on Linux Mint and have used Linux exclusively on my own computers since I move from OS/2 in 2007. On the basic of that experience and with work computers running Windows, I can say that Linux is crap. It's just not quite as crap as Windows. Perhaps even significantly less crap than Windows, but still crap.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

              Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

              Ah, finally some real honesty from the sunny Linux uplands. Should be the new slogan: "Linux: not as crap as Windows!". It'd work for me.

              1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

                Me too. Yes I use Zorin on one laptop and Win 10 on the other and by and large 'nux isn't as crap as Windows.

                Unfortunaely, though, it's crap in different ways.

          3. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

            > CAD with FreeCAD/OpenSCAD,

            YMMV. Other CAD options that avoid Windows include:

            -Autodesk products on macOS,

            -OnShape through a browser (OS agnostic)

            Both are proprietary, but your use-case might qualify for a free licence. OnShape is aiming to be a replacement for SolidWorks.

            1. imanidiot Silver badge

              Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

              CAD with FreeCAD/OpenSCAD -> No. Just no. Unless you're a masochist or have never worked with proper CAD packages like Solidworks or heck, even Fusion 360, imho it's not even a YMMV.

              As to OnShape aiming to replace Solidworks... Let's just say I think they have a LOT of work to do to make that happen. And even then I'd prefer a proper offline package to a browser based system.

          4. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
            Linux

            Re: Windows 11 is literally making people who would never use Linux suffer with with Linux.

            Install Mint. Download an ISO and burn a DVD. If you don't know how, have a friend do it for you. Dig out an old PC or buy a second HDD from Amazon and install Mint. Give it a try. Yeah, Mint's different from Windows, but not THAT different, and if you want to, you'll pick it up. You always have your Windows machine to go back to, but after using Mint for a month, if you're mostly a web user, I bet you won't.

            Linux doesn't suck any worse than Windows.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: All I want to know

          Ah, Of course linux makes people suffer.

          Under linux none of the stuff you want or need to use actually works. You can try wine, but everything I wanted to use (Nikon NX Studio, Colormuiki a couple games etc) either refused to run or in the case of NX Studio ran very slowly and ended up with a large part of one screen locked out.

          Problems getting specific hardware to be usable, Canon S800 photo printer for example.

          Then when you get linux devotes telling you that nah you don't need to use the windows software there is a linux equivalent. This is a joke. The equivalents are little toys compare to the windows original.

          1. claimed Silver badge

            Re: All I want to know

            Are you surprised Android apps don’t work on iPhones?

            Would you drive your vauxhall into the dealership and ask why your aftermarket Porsche seat heaters don’t work?

            You’re free to use Windows. Enjoy it. But how dare you disparage years of hard work given to the world *for free*, as “toys”. I bet you’ve never built anything more complicated than a paper aeroplane - let alone given it away afterwards.

            1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

              Re: All I want to know

              The quality of a product is not established by how much its creators were paid. Free software can be just as crappy as the paid for stuff.

            2. Plest Silver badge
              Mushroom

              Re: All I want to know

              The worst kind of childish argument, "If you can do any better then do it else shut up!".

              I don't build bridges or viaducts, doesn't mean I don't have a right to moan about them if they're not fit for purpose. I don't cook or bake, doesn't mean I don't have a right to moan if food makes me ill.

              A lot of FOSS is bloody good and does it's job very well, other stuff is good but in a more general way and some is just absolute crap. I and anyone else has a right to an opinion on if I think it's good or not.

              I've been a photographer for 15 years, countless images sold, written books and articles so I know a thing or two about photo editing. Yes GIMP is bloody good for the price, a damn fine piece of software but I'm afraid nothing comes close to Lightroom/Photoshop and I pay a premium for the privilege of using them plus other tools and plugins. I also use FOSS tools for my photography and i make sure I pay those developers a donation for their time and effort when I find something useful that helps me and my sideline business.

              In all cases I'm allowed an opinion even though I don't know what it takes to make some of the software, how hard it must be and done for nothing, still doesn't mean I can't have an opinion on their quality.

              1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                Re: All I want to know

                Dr. Johnson said something of that sort.

                You may abuse a tragedy, though you cannot write one. You may scold a carpenter who has made you a bad table, though you cannot make a table. It is not your trade to make tables.

                1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

                  Re: You may scold a carpenter who has made you a bad table

                  A carpenter should be good at database work, knowing all about joinery.

                  1. J. Cook Silver badge
                    Headmaster

                    Re: You may scold a carpenter who has made you a bad table

                    :: bops you with a rolled up newspaper ::

                    That was pretty bad, even for a 'dad joke'.

                  2. el_oscuro

                    Re: You may scold a carpenter who has made you a bad table

                    As someone who is both:

                    1. A woodworker knows that your tables will explode if you fail to account for wood movement.

                    2. A DBA knows that your tables will explode if you don't sanitize your inputs and someone names it "Bobby".

                  3. Yorick

                    Re: You may scold a carpenter who has made you a bad table

                    Have my very angry upvote.

            3. Stuart Castle Silver badge

              Re: All I want to know

              Linux is often cited as a good Windows replacment. Fair enough, for most purposes, it is. But it isn't always. There is some sofrware that does not run well on Linux (e.g. propriatrary camera software), and does not have a decent clone. If people are going to tout Linux as a good Windows replacement, they need to remember that their experience is not everyone's, and if it's not, they may percieve it as a toy.

              1. ChrisC Silver badge

                Re: All I want to know

                The same argument works in reverse though - if someone has a genuinely bad experience with Linux due to their specific requirements, it doesn't mean *everyone* will have a similarly bad experience, so whilst it's reasonable for them to make others aware of this specific issue, it's not reasonable for them to use it as justification for trying to persaude the masses that Linux generally is a pile of tosh.

                1. TheFifth

                  Re: All I want to know

                  I'd agree with this and the OP's comment. Everyone's use case is different, so blanket statements are just silly.

                  Personally for what I do, Linux fits my bill perfectly. I need to run local dev environments and web / database servers to get work done. Everything I need is available on Linux, although day to day I do use a Mac as I also need to develop iOS apps for clients.

                  Linux was also perfect for my parents. All they did was light browsing, email and solitaire, plus maybe the odd document to print. The day I replaced Windows with Linux on their laptop, the support calls stopped as it all 'just worked' for their use case.

                  However I have regularly experienced the reverse argument when I say I want the option of MacOS on the iPad (note I say option, not to force it on everyone). I receive a barrage of abuse about how the iPad is perfectly capable of being a full laptop replacement and I'm just not using it right. They don't seem to grasp that unless I can run a local web stack, it's doesn't work for me.

                  I love the iPad's form factor and portability, and it has more than enough power to do what I need it to do, but it's hamstrung by the OS. I ended up buying a Surface Go and put Linux on it (for which everything but the camera worked out of the box), just to minimise what I carry around when travelling. It's a slow device and has crappy battery life, but at times when portability is needed, it wins out.

                  So for me the iPadOS vs. MacOS debate is equally as frustrating as the Windows vs. Linux debate. Maybe it's just people that are frustrating? ;)

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: All I want to know

                    For some basic stuff that doesn't require that you go through the pain of getting everything to work in linux you could try chrome flex. easy to install. haven't had trouble with wifi which can be challenging sometimes with linux. works well on machines that would otherwise be retired. can do most of the required office tasks here.

                2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

                  Re: All I want to know

                  One person's bad experience is enough to destroy the claim that It Just Works.

              2. navarac Silver badge

                Re: All I want to know

                If manufacturer's hardware doesn't work on Linux, that is the hardware manufacturer's fault, not Linux.

              3. Yorick

                Re: All I want to know

                ‘Tis an academic distinction. Does not Windows come with a Linux kernel? Is right it does.

                A plain Linux install, it just skips a step.

            4. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: All I want to know

              I'm (pleasantly) surprised when *any* Windows program works on Linux. WINE is amazing (when it works). When it doesn't, I have a Windows VM.

          2. The Central Scrutinizer

            Re: All I want to know

            Linux does all I need it to and that is quite a lot, so.... pfftt

          3. ChrisC Silver badge

            Re: All I want to know

            "Problems getting specific hardware to be usable, Canon S800 photo printer for example."

            Also a problem with Windows - if you're running W11 then you must have got lucky with the drivers that are available, because Canon haven't provided W11 updates for these older printers. My iP4200, which is a few years younger than your S800, flatly refused to work *at all* (i.e. wouldn't even be recognised as a printer) at first, and it was only after I experimented with manually installing parts of slightly newer driver packages that I was able to get it recognised as a printer and then at least partially recognised in terms of its full capabilities. There's still a few things I can't get working (readback of the current ink levels being the one that most readily comes to mind), but at least I can run prints from it again. Good luck if you're a less tech-savvy Windows user just expecting to continue using their still perfectly functional printer on their shiny new PC...

            "Under linux none of the stuff you want or need to use actually works." / "The equivalents are little toys compare to the windows original."

            For a growing number of people, the "Windows original" is nothing more than a port from Linux in the first place - on both my work and home PCs, the number of genuinely Windows-specific bits of software I use is diminishing all the time, such that it'll only be a matter of time before I genuinely could switch to running them all within a native Linux environment. So for a growing number of us, the stuff we want or need to use damn well WOULD work under Linux.

          4. 0laf Silver badge

            Re: All I want to know

            Linux is great unless it isn't. If you run into a problem with a driver or piece of software not working (or worse half working) it can be a complete ballache to get to the bottom of it. Yes there is help out there, no it isn't easy to get to the right piece of help.

            Windows, for most people just works. Plug something in and it'll probably work fine. But then most people are starting to use phones or tablets for most of their day to day computing and that's not MS.

            If you've been around computers for more than 10yr then you probably do hanker back to an OS that does as it's told, which isn't MS now. MS has chosen to do the tablet thing which is to hide the greasy bits under a cover. But the people they are promoting their OS to are generally people who like to (or need to) tinker with the greasy bits under the cover.

            I like Linux because it (generally) doesn't hide anything. But if you are used to Windows then it's a steep learning curve to start with without the shiny baubles of switching to iOS. Plus if you're taking off Windows to put on Linux you are losing a functional machine in the hope you can build another. And if you find your microwave difficult tech then you probably won't want to swap out an OS

            1. el_oscuro

              Re: All I want to know

              Most Linux distros allow you to boot directly off of a USB stick without affecting your Windows installation at all. And should everything work to your satisfaction, you can easily install it right along side Windows and use either one.

              1. Shalghar Bronze badge

                Re: All I want to know

                Knoppix or similar live systems, anyone ?

          5. TheWeetabix Bronze badge

            Re: All I want to know

            So because you’re unable to do the research to find alternative software, you’re salty? There’s lots of good photographic and camera interface software for Liinux, and if you really really needed to use windows to import and control your camera, then use windows and then do the rest of your editing in linux…

            These are the exact same complaints anyone makes when they switch from windows to linux and don’t like the feeling of not knowing everything.

        3. MrAptronym

          Re: All I want to know

          With windows getting... more windows-y and Proton finally getting games working reliably I finally made the switch to linux for my home computer last year.

          I feel like I am rare as a linux user but not a power user. I used to be in IT, but these days I have forgotten 90% of anything I ever knew to go study rocks. I am shocked at how usable Linux is these days. As a kid I spent days getting things set up and troubleshooting to get a laptop minimally operational. With this install I had my home computer going in an hour and was playing Baldur's Gate III the same day. I definitely know more than the average person on the street, but certainly no expert at anything computational now.

      2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: All I want to know [Turning it Off]

        You want to be able to turn it off.

        I want it to never be present in the first place.

        How many Windows, Android, and iOS apps and OS updates have "inadvertantly" reset permissions and re-enabled features as part of an update?

      3. nightflier

        Re: All I want to know

        Turning it off won't do much. Just like the search field on the taskbar, it will just keep coming back again and again.

      4. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

        Privacy invasions

        Windows, show my boss a screenshot of the rounded-off figures I was looking at earlier - NO, NOT THOSE ONES!

    3. el_oscuro
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Domestic Abuse

      ... Or what one of those forced birth states could do with a woman's PC.

    4. xyz Silver badge

      Re: Domestic Abuse

      Well it's one way to bypass E2E encryption and who knows what "telemetry" happens between taking a screendump and saving it to your HDD.

      Mind you after the first update it'll probably all be saved to onedrive "in error" anyway.

      Time for Linux.

    5. hitmouse

      Re: Domestic Abuse

      There is much lower hanging fruit already available.

      If an abuser can access Recall logs, they'll already have direct access to web history and potential to install their own logging mechanisms.

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Domestic Abuse

        Or they can just thump their victim anyway. "Evidence" is probably not one of their main concerns.

    6. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Domestic Abuse

      Not just domestic abuse, this is ripe for all sorts of abuse..... this info is theoretically available not just to your partner, but to any employer or government official.

      addendum 1) - you can't trust that any of this info is really deleted when you want it to be deleted, or is not collected any longer when you ask for it to not be collected

      addendum 2) - you can't trust that when they say it stays on the local machine, it will stay on the local machine.

    7. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Domestic Abuse

      So...what protectio would there be in Edge to protect the list of not-stored sites?

      i.e. Edge might not store myfavouritepornsite.com pages, but presumably does have a list of sites to not store which would include "myfavourite...."

  2. Cynical Pie

    It begs the obvious question...

    Why?

    What is the point?

    1. Coastal cutie

      Re: It begs the obvious question...

      Exactly - I cannot think of one use case for this feature

      1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

        Re: It begs the obvious question...

        I can think of lots of use cases, none of which involve the user being spied on, but plenty of benefit for Microsoft.

        1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

          Re: It begs the obvious question...

          For clarity, and because the edit window has now passed, "none of which involve the user being spied on" would have been better written as, "none of which are to the benefit of the user, who is being spied on". All those use cases do indeed involve spying on the user.

      2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

        Re: It begs the obvious question...

        The use case is obvious - someone forgot just what it was they were doing 3 years ago and is desperate to find out/remember. Now just why that person was allowed out of the asylum is the big question.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It begs the obvious question...

          You mean *Microsoft* forgot was the user was doing 3 years ago and is desperate to find out.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: It begs the obvious question...

          This use case and other user useful use cases can be solved through enhancing the long removed journal feature of early editions of MS Office and enhancing the browser history into something more readily usable than the out-of-the-box browsing history.

          About the only useful aspect of screenshots is to provide evidence a user did visit a porn site on a work machine…

          A screenshot by itself is a really pointless record ; don’t believe me try it yourself - take a screen shot and look at it in a week or so, or simply look back through your photo albums and recall the event and circumstances around a series of photos.

    2. zimzam

      Re: It begs the obvious question...

      It also begs the question of how aggressively they'll have to monetise this to make any money from it. We've already seen Amazon, Apple and Google shrink from AI assistants because they were a money pit.

      1. neilg

        Re: It begs the obvious question...

        Thumbs up for spelling "monetise" the English way, thumbs down for using the non-word monetise in the first place.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It begs the obvious question...

          monetise is a perfectly cromulent word: the OED has a citation for it (well, monetize, 'cause OED) from 1867.

        2. zimzam

          Re: It begs the obvious question...

          You're one of those people who thinks we're not supposed to pronounce the 'é in forté, aren't you?

          1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: It begs the obvious question...

            I don't agree with the poster you are replying to, but I also don't agree with you, as the correct English pronunciation of forté is fɔːteɪ (forte, the Italian variant, used often in musical notation is pronounced fɔːti). If you speak US English, you might pronounce it fɔːt, but you'll also likley pronounce the name of a couple of well known Middle-Eastern countries as Eye Rack and Eye Ran, so forgive me if I don't take lessons on the pronunciation of my native language (or of loan-words from neighbouring countries) from you.

            edit - I wrote all the above before re-reading your post and realising I'd misread it quite egregiously. Rather than ninja-edit or delete my own post, I will now correct myself (as I wish many other posters would)

            You are, of course, totally correct, and the poster to whom you were replying remains wrong, possibly doubly so...

            I hang my head in shame at my lack of reading comprehension, and present myself for punishment to the Headmaster.

            1. David 132 Silver badge

              Re: It begs the obvious question...

              My American friends and relations pronounce “niche” as “nitch”, which - whilst normal by their local standards - always makes me twitch. Or should that be “twiche”?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: It begs the obvious question...

                Language be a changin.

                1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: It begs the obvious question...

                  For a monent I read that as "Language be a chagrin"

              2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

                Re: It begs the obvious question...

                The one that makes me twitch is when people pronounce "cache" like "cachet". That, and people who don't grasp that loan-words from Greek, such as "phenomena" are plural, and that the singular is "phenomenon" (doo-doo-doo-doo-doo)

                1. zimzam

                  Re: It begs the obvious question...

                  Do people do that? I could imagine some people think cachet is written as caché or pronounce cachet with a 't', but I've never heard someone say cache with an 'e'.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: It begs the obvious question...

                    Only habitual knitters

                  2. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

                    Re: It begs the obvious question...

                    It's hard, you have to cache them at it.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: It begs the obvious question...

                      Sounds like you need a wee drop of "t"

                      1. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

                        Re: It begs the obvious question...

                        Du thé, s'il vous plaît.

                        1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

                          Re: It begs the obvious question...

                          Je suis vraiment désolé, mais je ne prends que du café aujourd'hui.

                          Vous voulez un biscuit?

                  3. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge
                    Gimp

                    Re: It begs the obvious question...

                    Now that I have alerted you to it, listen for it. It will happen. You will twitch.

                2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: It begs the obvious question...

                  "people who don't grasp that loan-words from Greek, such as "phenomena" are plural"

                  OTOH There's a book XML Schema written by someone convinced that "schema" is a plural noun.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: It begs the obvious question...

                    You mean that *isn't* a thrill-a-minute read, the story of a lone man's journey to find The One Schema To Rule Them All?

                    (Please insert the rest of a gag that ends in "you say schemata, I say schemato")

                  2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

                    Re: It begs the obvious question...

                    Exactly, as any fule kno, the plural of schema is schemata.

                3. Andy The Hat Silver badge

                  Re: It begs the obvious question...

                  "and that the singular is "phenomenon" (doo-doo-doo-doo-doo)"

                  Sorry, it isn't. To correct you, I believe it's actually

                  "phenomenon" (doo-dooo-doo-do-do)

              3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: It begs the obvious question...

                We all have our shibboleths. And while the descriptivists have the right of it — no one owns English — that's not a reason not to frown at the barbarians.

            2. zimzam

              Re: It begs the obvious question...

              You get your points for knowing why it's pronounced that way.

            3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
              Headmaster

              Re: It begs the obvious question...

              "present myself for punishment to the Headmaster."

              Here ---->

        3. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

          Re: It begs the obvious question...

          "...spelling "monetise" the English way..."

          Nonsense.

          1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

            Re: It begs the obvious question...

            (at least one person chooses to believe "alternative facts")

    3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: It begs the obvious question...

      What is the point?

      Helping train MS's AI, at our expense and risk.

      AI expert Gary Marcus was blunter: "F^ck that. I don't want my computer to spy on everything I ever do."

      I'm no AI expert, but wot he said. Plus I'm currently running 3 displays at 3440x1440 and wondering how this 'feature' will cope with this. It's bad enough that the snipping tool insists on saving a screenshot every time, even though there's a 'save to disk' option if we really wanted to save stuff. Maybe MS is also getting commission from SSD vendors to burn through write cycles as well.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: It begs the obvious question...

        Obviously this "feature" will fill up your HD like there is no tomorrow. Just multiply a JPG of your screen's resolution by time ("every few seconds" they said) and you will know in how many hours your disk will be full. "Buy a new, better one! Here are some exciting opportunities from our partners!"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It begs the obvious question...

          > a JPG of your screen's resolution

          Was going to say that only an idiot would be using JPEG for a screenshot, as it would mess up all the text and just make the whole thing pointlessly harder to use, then remembered what the "feature" is and who's idea it is...

        2. Sudosu Bronze badge

          Re: It begs the obvious question...

          They will just store it on another computer's drive in your local neighborhood like they do with patches.

      2. clix

        Re: It begs the obvious question...

        Scarier than filling up your hard disk is *not filling up your hard disk* yet having years of backup images magically saved (in Microsoft's cloud)

        Both are awful.

      3. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: It begs the obvious question...

        Is it actually saving graphical screen shots or is it saving the position and contents of every window on your screen. The latter sounds much more evilly useful.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It begs the obvious question...

      Re: It begs the obvious question...

      How come that Microsoft are still in business, considering so many pointless, foolish, anti-customer decisions?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: It begs the obvious question...

        Sunk cost fallacy.

        1. DoctorNine

          Re: It begs the obvious question...

          And the fact that a large number of people higher up in large organizations are sociopaths who want more and more granular control of their drones, errr, employees.

    5. Phil Ni'Sophical

      Re: It begs the obvious question...

      Like any and all AI announcements, one wonders. What is the fucking point?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It begs the obvious question...

      It says in the article: But that's OK – a user can opt to filter out sites, right? Only if you're using Edge. In the deeper documentation for the service, Microsoft said: "To filter out a website from a snapshot, you must be using Microsoft Edge." Making you an offer you can not refuse.

      Aren't they going to face some lawsuits for that?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It begs the obvious question...

        > Aren't they going to face some lawsuits for that?

        Well, lawsuits will be started, but:

        MS lawyer: "Yes, we admit that we failed to filter out your activity; as you can plainly see, Recall captured this shot of your visit to - oh, you'd like to settle and not have this shown as evidence in open court? No, sorry, no cheques, we will only take cash; we've seen the state of your bank balance."

    7. Plest Silver badge

      Re: It begs the obvious question...

      The only limited thing I can tihnk of is when you have a user who has no idea how to get you a screenshot of a problem, then you can dip in and pull a shot out from the time they said X app has failed without havig to wait for them or teach them what you need. However that's all i got though and to be honest even that's stretching its purpose a bit much.

    8. nightflier

      Re: It begs the obvious question...

      Duh! Advertisers, malware distributors, employers, insurance companies, government agencies, hackers and many more will help themselves to all that info and use it for the good of the user, of course.

    9. hitmouse

      Re: It begs the obvious question...

      The rather obvious benefit is that the local AI can do semantic analysis to infer what you're trying to do and provide assistance. We've had years of news of AI models learning how to play computer games essentially from watching, without having any of the rules programmed in advance.

      Even a human assistant's value is reduced if they don't know what you're doing or can't learn by job-shadowing.

  3. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "At present, Windows Recall feels like it was put together with insufficient thought"

    Like almost everything M$ has ever done, from hiding file extensions by default to forcing massively time-consuming updates on users at unpredictable times. The concept of a computer being an unobtrusive tool has apparently never ranked high with them.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "At present, Windows Recall feels like it was put together with insufficient thought"

      You can imagine some techy getting excited with his idea that "We can already take screenshots when the user asks. Why not do it automatically and just save the results?" Or maybe just doing it and showing the higher ups. The question is why there weren't any grown-ups in the room to realise it was a Really Bad Idea?

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: "At present, Windows Recall feels like it was put together with insufficient thought"

      Like almost everything M$ has ever done..

      .. has demonstrated they, and a lot of other big tech companies are in serious need of a thorough ethical cleansing. A 'feature' like this should never have got this far, if there wasn't a total disregard for user privacy.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: "At present, Windows Recall feels like it was put together with insufficient thought"

        I fear they've been entirely cleansed of any trace of ethics.

    3. 0laf Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: "At present, Windows Recall feels like it was put together with insufficient thought"

      Smells like Microsoft's internal feature market. It's like a Battle Royal of useless shit, the team that can generate the most shit gets to stay employed, doubly so if it allows data mining of customers.

    4. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

      Re: "At present, Windows Recall feels like it was put together with insufficient thought"

      Microsoft is going completely berserk over this AI thing, stuffing it in every place the sun shines and doesn't shine. I hear copy-paste is being AI-ed and Paint too is getting an AI makeover.

      1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

        Re: "At present, Windows Recall feels like it was put together with insufficient thought"

        It's the new "metaverse". Once they realise that it is, in practice, pretty useless, except for a few niche use cases, they'll bin it. They just need to get through the sunk cost fallacy stage first.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: "At present, Windows Recall feels like it was put together with insufficient thought"

          "They just need to get through the sunk cost fallacy stage first."

          That's what their customers need to do.

          1. Fred Daggy Silver badge

            Re: "At present, Windows Recall feels like it was put together with insufficient thought"

            What?

            I think you've under the misapprehension that the end-user of windows is the customer. No, no, no. The customer of all this is the data junkies that will pay Microsoft for access to your data.

            Now, now the strategy makes sense. Any use or convenience for the end-user is purely coincidence.

            Products are (nearly) dead. They are just a means to get the consumer to hand over data. And then sell the said data. If it would be possible to DRM a banana or knife and fork, and have it controlled/billed/use analysed from a smartphone app, they would do it.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: "At present, Windows Recall feels like it was put together with insufficient thought"

          Unfortunately, corporate governance aggravates the Sunk Cost Fallacy — the execs who signed off on splashing billions on this feature have to continue to claim that it was the right decision.

        3. Telman

          Re: "At present, Windows Recall feels like it was put together with insufficient thought"

          For MS, that,s the Stink cost fallacy...

      2. 0laf Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: "At present, Windows Recall feels like it was put together with insufficient thought"

        They'll have a Ratner moment soon on this hopfully.

        But probably not before there are massive layoffs as the beancounters get stuck into the AI Kool-aid. Followed by a realisation a year later that giving minimum wage grads access to CoPilot doesn't make them the equivalent of 4 master developers.

  4. Adair Silver badge

    TOTAL RECALL

    – we remember it for you wholesale.

    1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

      Re: TOTAL RECALL

      Wait, this is Microsoft, not Elon, so no "get your ass to Mars".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: TOTAL RECALL

        Man, that reference is SO last century!

        Microsoft just want you to feel your stomach churn as you experience The Drop (of all your old sessions into the hands of a crazed "businessman"[1])

        [1] Hoods who'll "give the business", or the NSA "that is our business, everything is our business" or just your PHB "stop doing that on our business dime"

      2. el_oscuro

        Re: TOTAL RECALL

        https://youtu.be/IA3k-T7ciAU

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Windows

    "a snapshot of a user's active screen every few seconds"

    I'm starting to regret the days where 640KB was enough for everyone.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: "a snapshot of a user's active screen every few seconds"

      And the earlier days when 64KB was all we had, then coding was written so much more efficiently.

      I developed a new S100 memory board to get 128KB in the 64KB environment... so the tighter environment was very helpful, it taught me so much that I got a new job!

      1. ChrisC Silver badge

        Re: "a snapshot of a user's active screen every few seconds"

        Some of us still work in environments like that - embedded software development, at the lower end of the spectrum at least (i.e. when the hardware you're targetting isn't just the equivalent of a desktop PC in disguise), continues to be a place where people who know how to write efficient code can thrive, and those who think the compiler can sort it all out for them very quickly learn the hard way just how wrong they are...

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    According to the Beeb the ICO is already taking an interest.

    1. Tom Paine

      And according to the Reg, too. See the fine article.

  7. Andy Non Silver badge

    Features like that

    are a damn good reason NOT to buy a Windows computer. They claim it will be optional... yeah, right. So much crap, bloat and downright dangerous stuff you've got to turn off in Windows before you can safely use it.

    1. b0llchit Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Features like that

      Is there enough you can "turn off" in Windows? I don't think you can control what is being gathered and sent when you want safe usage. This is the OS that will fail when the internet is unavailable. You may guess why...

    2. Flightmode

      Re: Features like that

      Yeah. this was a step too far for me too. This weekend will probably be the one when I start figuring out if running my home workstation on Ubuntu (starting with Live) rather than Windows is a feasible option; and to see what applications I might need to find alternatives to.

    3. Dagg Silver badge

      Re: Features like that

      So are you saying that apple or google are any better?

      You need to remember that vast number of people cannot install and use linux. All they want is a computer as an appliance.

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Features like that

      Alas, so many of us are forced to use Windows for work.

      I can only hope that big organizations will insist that Microsoft let this crap be disabled by group policy, and then do so. Think of what a horror this would be for legal discovery, for example.

  8. Bearshark

    I would trust my brother "Kuato" who lives inside my stomach, before trusting M$.

    1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

      Start the reactor, Bearshark.

  9. Richard 31
    Mushroom

    As this seems to be a screen grab of everything and only in private browser sessions seem to be excluded, what about the other million apps you can run on your computer?

    Definitely no corporate secrets, passwords, plans, patent records etc etc that would be exposed.

    I would bet this "feature" is going to be attacked by nation States ASAP.

    Also also, how long before they start 'offering' to backup Recall in the cloud, or governments try to require you to have scanning for csam or anything else that they think can use to push mass surveillance onto thier citizens with?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "governments try to require you to have scanning"

      It's going to be their favourite wet dream.

    2. Avalanche

      It will probably do so by default for users who have allowed OneDrive to sync their user profile (and it is pretty easy to enable that by accident, as I seem to have done on my secondary machine without realising it until later). Given the volume of space required, this will quickly gobble up your "free" storage space, prompting them to ask you to pay for your OneDrive space. I wonder if that is one of their motivations for this insane idea.

    3. David Hicklin Bronze badge

      >> governments try to require you

      I can see governments/police/security services loving this, grab the poor souls computer, existing laws force them to give access and then they can trawl through the snapshots until they find enough to hang you with....

  10. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge
    Stop

    Obvious parallel is obvious

    The phrase "Big Brother is Watching You" entered the English vocabulary with the publication of George Orwell's 1984, with the sinister connotations it now holds, but imagine if the book had never been published, or didn't have "Big Brother" as an entity, and how innocent the phrase would sound. Indeed, in the book, the phrase is supposedly reassuring, and a signifier of the constant propaganda that inhabitants of Airstrip One are fed.

    In the future, then, will the phrase, "Windows Recall is Helping You" enter the vocabulary in the same way? Something that is presented as a useful feature for the user, such as Big Brother's protective gaze, has a true nature that is much more sinister? "All data is held on your device" for now, but we all know the heavyweight "AI" processing will take place in a data centre somewhere, and I struggle to believe that those snapshots won't be sent there, even transiently, for analysis, and processing.

    The underlying benefit for Microsoft of doing this? Data analysis. Profiling. Targeted advertising. Does anyone honestly think that three-letter agencies wouldn't want their go on this fairground ride as well? We'd be naïve to think that they aren't already salivating at the thought. As for the potential to sell that data on, especially in jurisdictions without adequate provisions for privacy (*cough* the US *cough*), well, how long before that valuable profiling is used for political targeting, not just plain old advertising? It'll be Cambridge Analytica all over again, but with richer, higher quality data.

    So, it's a hard nope from me.

  11. Steve Hersey

    They missed an opportunity

    They should have named this feature "Panopticon."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They missed an opportunity

      They'd only be kicking themselves that "Palantir" was already taken...

    2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

      Re: They missed an opportunity

      At least Jeremy Bentham has the excuse that his head is made of wax.

  12. jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Silver badge

    How much data stored?

    With a fairly modest 1600x 1200 screen, I presume the screen capture will need to be fairly good quality to be useful, so assume 100kB per screen. Every 3 seconds, that's about 1GB for only 8 hours of use. That'll take quite a while to fill a decent hard disk, but it still feels like a total waste of storage - this recall feature I mean not Windows generally... or do I?

    Ok so probably plenty more compression that could be done to squeeze it down a fair bit more.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: How much data stored?

      Just did a test on my laptop. Screen is 1920 x 1080. JPG compression is set to 75%. Resulting file size is 250KB (using Paint.net).

      My home PC has two screens, both which are much larger in pixel weight. I'm guessing that that GB limit would be reached way before noon.

      Don't want it. Period.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: How much data stored?

        If the screen is displaying text or images of text that can be OCRed is that stored instead/

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: How much data stored?

        If you want to kill Performance, let that folder grow to a few thousand images, delete folder and reboot and Windows is happy again…

    2. NewModelArmy

      Re: How much data stored?

      Maybe it is possible to use difference between frames for compression, similar to video for each screenshot. That would reduce storage requirements considerably.

      Either way, it is not innovative, just creepy.

      1. ITS Retired

        Re: How much data stored?

        How much CPU time would this require? The next M$ computer requirements will include overclocking and petabyte hard drives.

        1. NewModelArmy

          Re: How much data stored?

          I have a PC from 2014 which processes 3k 15fps video at 20% CPU usage. All intel CPU's have the ability to natively encode/decode H.264, so a simple variation of this is all that is required for a single snapshot every 3 seconds.

          1. Chet Mannly

            Re: How much data stored?

            That will be the way they do it - it would make sense for this to be stored as a bookmarked video file, as opposed to a billion jpgs...

            1. ChrisC Silver badge

              Re: How much data stored?

              Given nothing else about this idea makes sense, it might be stretching credulity a little to presume any sense in the way it'd be implemented...

            2. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: How much data stored?

              Why?

              This is supposed to be AI infused, so only need a couple of seed screen captures and CoPilot with an appropriate command will be able to fill in the gaps…

    3. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

      Re: How much data stored?

      How many processor cores is that going to keep busy? Are Microsoft going to pay for the wear and tear on my storage (even modern flash memory has a limited number of rewrites before it fails)? What about the increased electricity usage? While they're at it, they can chip in for the air conditioning in summer.

    4. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: How much data stored?

      Well, obviously, the local store is only a staging process to The Cloud!

      That will have room for years of trackinghistory.

    5. jpennycook

      Re: How much data stored?

      unless it's being recorded like video - so changes from the previous frame, rather than recording the whole frame each time

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Already Red US states will be licking their lips

    for women looking for abortion clinics.

  14. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

    Surveillance

    AI in combination with on-computer surveillance for "unlawful content" will lead to a surveillance-state never seen before in the history of mankind. Even the DDR didn't have anything near this level of control and oversight. It's downright scary that politicians are even contemplating this.

    Microsoft could well its first victim since I'm convinced users will flee Windows for Linux once this becomes a reality. They'll have sunk a $2 trillion company with their antics.

    If Apple too is sunk when China invades Taiwan the U.S. will be a whoooolotta poorer.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Surveillance

      MS have been boiling the frog for a while now and they know how to do it. Corporations will get a group policy to turn it off, everyone else will get slurped, much like today.

      1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

        Re: Surveillance

        People aren't that thick. There's a reason Linux's market share is rising.

        1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: Surveillance

          Linux#s market share is rising because ChromeOS exists. Google are not exactly anti-surveillance.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    another useful feature

    Whether it is marketed as security observability oversight recovery etc it is like many of the other overreaching features (UEFI / systemd / secure boot / IME / etc) rife with potential for exploitation

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: another useful feature

      And this is why it will succeed, and soon be on every Windows PC. Like all the other stuff you quoted.

      A couple hundred big headlines and lawsuits later, they might (potentially) replace it with something not-much-better.

  16. Locomotion69
    Unhappy

    Total Recall

    This is one of the best examples I ran into lately of a solution desperately looking for a problem it could solve.

    Looking from my professional environment, this is something absolutely NOT wanted.

  17. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

    Totally Illegal

    Maybe this time they will hit the level where the US government, at least the federal one, declares the usage of Windows 11 as illegal on federal computers.

    Which might result in a special build of Windows 11 which is, by default, free of all that cloud shit (like the server versions usually are). Everything available to activate if needed of course, but not constantly pushed into my face. I would even switch my OS language for that.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Totally Illegal

      Not a chance. The government, like big corporations, will get the special (extremely expensive) version which allows you to (really) shut it off, just like telemetry and ads and all other garbage they like to empty on your computer. It's the home user who is targeted here, and governments will love to get a view on what you're doing with your computer.

      Long story short: Governments will just love the idea, applied to the Great Unwashed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Totally Illegal

        I honestly do not believe that is the case, at least from my recent experience with "MS Cloudy" deployments at a decent sized government (not national) organization.

        Every time a feature was updated in the background for their mainline products, the teams would have to go back through and re-disable everything they disabled the last time an update happened.

        Licensing was the worst one, but many other areas reverted to defaults as well.

        Maybe federal governments are different, but I have my doubts.

  18. Nuno
    FAIL

    Remote work

    Great tech for companies that want to spy on their employees...

    1. Plest Silver badge

      Re: Remote work

      If they wanted to they'd already be doing it and most people wouldn't even know.

      I once asked the head of IT if the big wigs had considered official spyware, he said "The day we have to install that rubbish is the day we've failed to employ good managers who don't know or trust their own staff. If it ever happens then trust me, I'll be first out the door!".

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Remote work

        "If it ever happens then trust me, I'll be first out the door"

        There are, of course, a lot of places where he doesn't work.

  19. Marty McFly Silver badge
    FAIL

    Not that new...

    Having done forensics on Windows, there is a shocking amount of user history data stashed on a system. Taking screen shots & making them available in a user interface is new.

    Recording copious amounts of user activity is not new to Windows 11. It just hasn't been obvious to the masses before.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Not that new...

      Really need a modern version of Evidence Eliminator (without the dubious spamming and sales promotions)…

  20. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Satnad: "It's all done locally"

    And then uploaded as telemetry...

    1. Plest Silver badge

      Re: Satnad: "It's all done locally"

      Wouldn't take much to run some basic analysis locally, 5% CPU spared on every 10th image, gather the meta data and send it home for use with their AI harvesting and training.

  21. krakead

    Oh hell no! Even if I'm able to disable this shit, that's not good enough - I want to be able to eradicate every last shred of it from my computer. Oh, and Microsoft, yeah - that's right - MY COMPUTER! Just because it's running your increasingly unacceptable bag o'shite OS, doesn't make it yours.

    Seriously thinking it's time to switch to Linux, especially now that it's a viable gaming platform.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Microsoft: "What makes you think it's your computer?"

    2. Sudosu Bronze badge

      There are some nice versions of Linux that can be run live or installed "beside" your current Windows version for you to experiment with.

  22. Alien Doctor 1.1

    You have to be pulling my purple plonker

    What is the fucking point? If I buy or build a PC it is for a specific purpose not for some overblown OS company to decide what to do with it.

    I have a couple of machines for coding, a self-built gaming rig and a gaming lappy. My devices only run specific s/w for specific tasks, I don't need advanced bullshit functionality or so-called ai telling me what it thinks I want to do. I know what I want to do. Fuck'em.

    </rant>

    1. Shalghar Bronze badge

      Re: You have to be pulling my purple plonker

      Please allow me to very much agree as well as upvote.

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: You have to be pulling my purple plonker

      What is the fucking point?... I have a couple of machines for coding

      You answered your own question. Your code = Microsoft's code. Even though you may not have the rights to assign any of it to MS and MS may not have any rights to access it. Which is also the reason I hate cloudybollocks. If I'm working on something that's under NDA, I have no rights to share it outwith whatever's in the NDA, which means a lot of cloudy stuff can't be used without breaching the terms of those NDAs. Then there's all the legal, medical and other stuff that can't, or shouldn't be shared, or accessed by unauthorised persons. It's also like MS is trying to shut itself out of a bunch of large markets.

      a self-built gaming rig and a gaming lappy.

      That could be a fun one. So MS knows I suck at Crysis. What's the point? Is Copilot going to offer to take over? What's the point of MS taking a screenshot of me playing a game ever 30s, other than wasting my resources? And this is on top of the data MS already collects in it's titles with it's 'user feedback' telemetry that many people click through and accept.

    3. Plest Silver badge

      Re: You have to be pulling my purple plonker

      You seem to think you paid and bought the MS operating system, you kid yourself 'cos you didn't buy it, you rented it. They are still very much in control of it!

      One of the reasons I stopped playing games on Windows, bought a SteamDeck ( linux based console ) and I play Windows games there without the MS spyware, just the EA and Ubisoft spyware! Ha ha!

      1. Phil Ni'Sophical

        Re: You have to be pulling my purple plonker

        Correction: just the EA, Ubisoft, and Steam spyware!

        They've got to be taking their cut o' the action, surely.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no security

    Micro flacid are not that fussed about the concerned individual. Some sleepy gormless bozo ,who will be the only type of person employed soon, will have all your details up on a screen which is then snapshoted away to some insecure place they never set up properly as only that sort of person gets the job.

    Tbh all the wfh dog walkers must have tons of peoples details printed off and scattered round the house. This saves paper.

  24. Shalghar Bronze badge

    How come this is GDPR "compliant" at all ?

    I might misremember but if this privacy nightmare is "opt out" it cannot be GDPR compliant from the start.

    Other GDPR issues i assume:

    - no "legitimate interest" backdoor this time as this thing has no real purpose and there simply cannot be any "legitimate interest" for such a wholesale surveillance.

    - no definition what all this data is stored (and quite probably transferred to three letter creeps and their pets) for.

    - the sheer amount of stolen data can only have one purpose: total surveillance of everything that happens on the afflicted computers. This is so far from any alleged "privacy protection" that the teethless and thus useless loophole collection called GDPR adresses, that even the development of such atrocites should be illegal from start, since the first working test version already breaches any and all alleged "privacy protection".

    As for "transparency", thats the only non issue. Everything you do will be sniffed out and stored (and quite probably telemetrically sent back to the evil stepmothership). How any "private" browser mode can actually protect from screenshots might be interesting to hear. My "once upon a time" collection needs some updates.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: How come this is GDPR "compliant" at all ?

      Yes but no! Alas. It is stored by your computer on your disk, so until (not unless, until) somebody extracts it, GDPR has (AFAIK) nothing to say.

      1. Shalghar Bronze badge

        Re: How come this is GDPR "compliant" at all ?

        This is actually quite an interesting topic that has never been properly adressed as far as i can remember.

        Does the "illegal" part really only begin with the extraction of data that has been stored without consent in an opt out (if it can be deactivated at all) process that is initiated against the users will ? Much more so as this full surveillance can only have the purpose of full surveillance. I personally wouldnt mind error logs with their limited information storage and clear, beneficial purpose but total big brother is quite a different slice of cake.

        https://gdpr-info.eu/art-4-gdpr/

        Topics 2 and 4, among others later on.

        https://gdpr-info.eu/art-18-gdpr/

        https://gdpr-info.eu/art-35-gdpr/

        "Where a type of processing in particular using new technologies, and taking into account the nature, scope, context and purposes of the processing, is likely to result in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of natural persons, the controller shall, prior to the processing, carry out an assessment of the impact of the envisaged processing operations on the protection of personal data. "

        https://gdpr-info.eu/art-30-gdpr/

        "Each controller and, where applicable, the controller’s representative, shall maintain a record of processing activities under its responsibility. That record shall contain all of the following information:

        the name and contact details of the controller and, where applicable, the joint controller, the controller’s representative and the data protection officer;

        the purposes of the processing;"

        Since i am NOT my own "data protection officer", i would be interested in the question, who is ? Cortana ?

        As "processing" includes "storage", it comes down to the so called "controller". Since the user has not much control over the autosniffer, i would very much like to see any justification for "purpose of processing" concerning said "controller". Much more so in a remote controlled supertrojan like Windows.

        And finally, one of the most ridiculous GDPR "rights":

        https://gdpr-info.eu/art-79-gdpr/

        "Right to an effective judicial remedy against a controller or processor"

        How do i sue my licensed copy for damages and cease and desist ? ;)

        IANAL and as can be seen by my constant mockery of the useless and teethless GDPR i am not a fan of that corporate corruption loophole collection but something as drastic as this new creepytech little big brother should trigger several issues IMHO.

        To put it blunt: If this is considered "legal" and "GDPR compliant", its another proof that the GDPR is all smokes and mirrors, as if the multitude of violations by gazillions of software products/license disagreements/nonprivacy policies around the world wouldnt suffice.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: How come this is GDPR "compliant" at all ?

          Look at it from the other direction. You discover that somebody has some information about you that you don't want them to have, something that might be quite damaging to you,in fact. Assuming GDPR applies where you are (EU plus, for now UK) you can demand that they delete that information unless they have legitimate reason to hold it. Job done, GDPR has protected you

          Now imagine that there are screenshots of that information they don't know about. They've unwittingly retained that information. Take it further - they do consider that possibility and manage to find such a screenshot and delete it (assuming Microsoft allow that). But unknown to them, while they've pulled up that screenshot to delete it the system takes a screenshot of the screenshot.

          IOW It's going to make GDPR compliance a lot more work.

          1. Shalghar Bronze badge

            Re: How come this is GDPR "compliant" at all ?

            While i may demand they delete it, i have no proof they do. Nobody actually controls that those requests are fulfilled which means despite all the noble and holy words, no protection at all.

            While GDPR generally prohibits forced "consent" when the product does not technically need dataslurping to run, thats the new normal in any and all software. No "consent", and your officially offline app wont run at all. Revoke "consent" and it blocks itself until you give in. Simple and clear breach of GDPR, nobody gives a big rodents backside at all.

            Spam callers at your phone, you prohibit them to call ever again and demand all your info being deleted, next day they call again (from within germany) . Neither "Bundesnetzagentur" nor "Datenschutzbeauftragter" give a crud. The spam callers keep your number on the list and keep on calling until you block their systems by technical means on your end. Nice "protection" both from GDPR as well as local authorities. See tellows.com, cleverdialar.com and other similar spam call warn sites. Quite a lot of the scumcalls are located in germany, even after looking behind the numberspoofing. There wouldnt be so many of those if GDPR and german law had any effect on the culprits.

            There are a lot more examples what "protection" by GDPR actually does for any afflicted individual and all have similar results.

            This recall case is an automated system, which leads to no appointed "data protection officer" and since the user cannot control whats happening, who or what is the so called controller ?

            If the "controller" is an automated system, who can delete what i never wanted to be stored ? To whom can i complain and demand my fictitional "rights" ?

            Sure, i can maybe (begs the question if the user even has access to the files) delete those things myself, but whats the point if the system keeps generating them ?

            If all those screenshots are stored in one single dircetory, the GWX-workaround might help. (Ownership of the directory to a specific user account,. no access for anything but this account, delete the account. Nothing can be stored but the directory exists.). This might however lead to adverse effects, depending on how excessively the recall subprogram insists on screenshotting and how massively its "integrated" in the OS.

            As per GDPR, storage already is considered processing. Which should mean that GDPR applies. As this "processing" is neither wanted nor initiated by the user, someone else must be the "controller".

            So who can be held responsible in this case and how can the victim stop the allslurping abomination ?

      2. jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Silver badge

        Re: How come this is GDPR "compliant" at all ?

        But what if your computer has a user account for someone else to use. If recall is putting their personal information on your computer, does that make you the data controller in accordance with GDPR? Come to think of it how is that any different to the situation today with any multi user computer?

    2. riking

      Re: How come this is GDPR "compliant" at all ?

      Ahhh but you see, it's Microsoft's customers that can be successfully prosecuted for owning computers that have this enabled. Microsoft will not be holding the bag here.

      Small Businesses running on Home edition are going to be relentlessly victim blamed for not paying enough to be able to disable this.

  25. El Duderino
    Coffee/keyboard

    I salute the idea

    Sorry, that was probably confusing and may need some elaboration. I meant my idea to wave buh-bye to MS last summer...

    1. Alien Doctor 1.1

      Re: I salute the idea

      Just like the prescient guy in an earlier story that ditched vmware 18 months ago. Brilliant.

  26. PB90210 Bronze badge

    "Industry must consider data protection from the outset and rigorously assess and mitigate risks to people's rights and freedoms before bringing products to market"

    Tell that to the government and their insisting that encryption being backdoored

  27. Blackjack Silver badge

    Microsoft is thinking to much of what Big Brother like Corporations want and too little of what anyone else wants.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  28. Plest Silver badge
    Gimp

    "On your knees bitches!"

    We all rent Windows from MS, they very much do whatever the hell they like with it. You don't like it then MS will simply say, "Don't like us? Then go elsewhere! You can't afford a Mac and you haven't got time or patience for Linux? Tough shit! Now pay up, stop complaining, on your knees 'cos you're still our bitch!".

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "On your knees bitches!"

      I use Linux. It's Windows I haven't the patience for. Using that is like wading through treacle except for updates which are like wading through concrete.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "On your knees bitches!"

      I don't. The only Windoze computers I use it's pirated.

      And if you're pirating it, might as well go ahead with the 'enterprise' version, it lets you turn off more of the telemetry.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "On your knees bitches!"

        If you're pirating it you might as well use the LTSC version.

  29. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    FAIL

    What are they

    thinking? or indeed smoking? or are they throwing ideas at the wall and seeing which ones stick?

    But given m$'s history with this 'recall' feature, how long until you see messages/dialogs such as "Your recall feature is getting full, switch on onecloud and free up space"

    At which point your screen images wander off to god knows where, and m$ WILL hand them over if they get a warrent/asked nicely by 5 eyes/ hacked by China et al

    Because those images will be a tempting target .......

  30. Adam R_

    Timecards

    For the most part, I absolutely hate this, but as someone who used to need to do detailed timecards I would have loved it.

    1. Snowy Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Timecards

      Turn it into a slide deck and send it to HR, then they can clearly see what you where doing?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Timecards

      Filling out timesheets would be my #1 choice for AI. I always made them up at the end of the week anyway, so accuracy really doesn't matter, but it would have removed a whole heap of stress and aggravation for everyone involved.

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Timecards

        I can pre-fill my time recording sheets on my employers system up to one month ahead, using each previous weeks sheet (Used to have a option for two weeks, handy for those out of hours\non standard weeks) & submit for the current week (& the week to come), that way I can submit each Friday (Icon) with any changes.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who thought this was a good idea?

    What a waste of development resources and compute resources/power

    Nobody needs this

  32. Snowy Silver badge
    Coat

    The Government will save us!!

    Recall drawing regulatory scrutiny in the UK — Microsoft's AI Copilot+ feature a 'privacy nightmare'

    https://www.tomshardware.com/software/windows/recall-drawing-regulatory-scrutiny-in-the-uk-microsofts-ai-copilot-feature-a-privacy-nightmare

  33. Tron Silver badge

    Wow. Massive kudos to someone at MS.

    They could have dreamed up Microsoft's worst idea ever. And there were so many others jostling for the top spot.

    1. Ropewash

      Re: Wow. Massive kudos to someone at MS.

      This is just the pre-cursor, just to see if the frogs will stay in the pan. The real horror begins when they start to scrape it for ad revenue.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Wow. Massive kudos to someone at MS.

        They'll do it right from the start. Why else would they invent such a harebrained scheme if not to make sure they get lots of commercially usable "telemetry"?

        Microsoft doesn't do things for you (and besides, how often in your work day do you say "if only I had a screenshot of my screen from 5 minutes ago"? It never happened to me yet.).

  34. Conundrum1885

    It is very hard to hack

    Pen and paper.

    Some folks actually resort to typing them twice on a 1950s vintage typewriter then sending the other copy to a lawyer in a double sealed envelope so that

    it only gets opened in a courtroom once all parties have signed an agreement that it is never to be spoken of unless said parties agree

    to the written terms, and then burn the ribbon and any partial copies afterwards to make absolutely sure.

    These days it is virtually impossible to be sure about security, it is believed that to this day an incoming Prime Minster still hand writes those four letters

    to the four HMS submarine commanders that are sent to a sealed, encrypted and secure printer inside that safe so no-one ever sees them, upon verified

    receipt the original copies are then destroyed.

  35. TheMaskedMan Silver badge

    "AI expert Gary Marcus was blunter: "F^ck that. I don't want my computer to spy on everything I ever do.""

    Sums things up perfectly. No. Just... no. Who was n their right mind would want this, or ever think it could be a cool product?

    Years ago, I was toying with the idea of an HTTP proxy that would index web pages as you surfed and allow you to search for pages you've visited by keywords and / or content. Such a thing would have been useful for me because I'm a bugger for knowing that I read something, but not where I read it, and I assume others are similarly afflicted. After a little more thought, I decided I didn't like the privacy implications, and took the idea no further. This is infinitely worse.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have just had a terrible thought !!!

    This could be a classic manipulation !!!

    Threaten a unbelievable 'horror of an idea' to the masses, get them all upset !!!

    After due 'thought and consultation' MS realise that the 'horror of an idea' is a little bit too far !!!

    MS suggest a 'lesser evil idea' that is an alternative direction they could take *but* only if the idea is seen to be more acceptable !!!

    To avoid the 'horror of an idea' people accede & complain less and generally keep quiet !!

    MS get to deliver the intrusive and malign s/w they really wanted and get to say it is 'obviously wanted/acceptable' because few complained !!!

    :)

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Office 97 journal?

    Didn't Office 97 have a 'journal' feature whereby it tracked what app you were using at what time? That would be moderately useful for me as I often remember editing something but forget where it is on disk. :-( Having the equivalent of a video camera looking over my shoulder is no real use as it is going to be too slow to search (at least at first).

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well if customers aren't going to pay for new AI features like Recall

    then the least they can do is pay NOT to have them.

  39. Vincero

    Not actually sure why this needs to be an AI powered feature...

    Using basic process information and GDI information about open windows, it would be fairly easy to grab the screen output, window contents be it text or graphics, and metadata and store that information - basic indexing software has existed for a long time which does fine without 'AI'...

    The AI part seems more like a way of using the AI copilot software to get trained on your data usage - most likely not really for the users own benefit...

    A large part of this seems like a solution looking for a problem, as well as a feature that could have been done previously.

  40. unaware

    How IT has changed

    In past history there were some people with bad intentions to attack enterprises, called hackers. Now enterprises have included bad intentions into their business plans and products to attack the people.

    Sadly. For the world. Computing has, in many regards, failed to help people and humanity due to the behavior of a few evil, very large companies, that monopolize the world.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop launch Copilot+ PC by government

    Governments who care about their citizen should block the sale of copilot+ PC's. (They won't for the obvious reason)

  42. Paul 87

    It's ironic really, as features go, the use cases for it (narrow as they are), belong entirely within the Enterprise sector.

    As a compliment to the various Legal retention policies, searchable snapshots of employee actions that can be compiled and searched for efficiently is ideal for big business to ensure that their legal responsibilities are being met. Even more so if the entire policing aspect can be handed off to a properly trained LLM.

    So yes, it's spyware, yes, it's horrific to even consider deploying this to private individual's machines, but as a properly controlled tool in environments where individuals don't have an expectation of privacy due to using a work machine, maybe not entirely useless?

    1. ChipsforBreakfast

      Sorry, no.

      At least, not without a VERY clearly communicated policy that encompasses both system users and the clients they serve that fully outlines what is collected, where it's stored, how it's protected, what it's used for and when it's deleted.

      You have to remember that this type of system impacts far more than just the user of the device. Clients who's data is being processed have a right to know how their data is being stored, processed and used. I have, unfortunately, had to examine that very area for a former employer who once considered deploying such corporate spyware. Suffice it to say I recommended very strongly against, to the point of making it clear that should I be asked to deploy such software I would tender my resignation immediately. The risks, especially in the era of GDPR & ransomware are simply unjustifiable. and I have absolutely no intention of trying to justify the unjustifiable in front of a judge!

  43. Reginald O.

    A new mass surveillance tool in born

    This app certainly has many characteristics of a corporate, government, military, police mass surveillance tool.

    MS says their policy is to keep data local. But, the policy can change tomorrow with a few key strokes.

    Also, the programming can be changed to route the data anywhere they please via updates down the road a bit.

    Corporations and governments would likely pay sizeable fees to have access to such detailed data.

    Last, MS could easily have everyone's password to everything in the world with this tool setting up cloud review data without every touching the users device.

    And, why wouldn't they want all that data?

    Meanwhile, laws could be easily interpreted, changed or written to make it mandatory to have the app up and running.

    Note, Recall DOES REQUIRE new and better hardware. So I would guess simply NOT buying the latest greatest Windows device is one easy way to prevent Recall getting on or wirking on a personal device. For now.

    Recall is a long game project. MS will be tweaking it for many years to come. This is the first page of a very long book.

    Recall that end users are targets not customers. MS's customers are the coporations and governments.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Password Masking

    "That data may be in snapshots stored on your device, especially when sites do not follow standard internet protocols like cloaking password entry."

    The latest NIST password guidelines advise AGAINST password masking. Shoulder surfing is less of an issue than getting people to use long passwords, or even better passphrases. Being able to see what you are typing will encourage people to use longer passwords/passphrases.

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Password Masking

      "The latest NIST password guidelines advise AGAINST password masking"

      At last! I've been saying this for years. Particularly when creating a new password, visual imprinting is a major contributor to memorising.

      The big problem has always been that those tasked with defining password management know absolutely zero about either psychology or the relevant math. So they make up heuristic rules on the basis that "complex == good" (without any understanding of the real nature or relevance of complexity) and force them on us whether they make sense or not (and mostly they don't). Then the "user" is blamed when the rules don't work in practice.

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Password Masking

        What IT people say: Use a really complicated password.

        What users hear: Write it down on a Post-It note.

        1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

          Re: Password Masking

          Which is safer than a bad password, or using one of those cloud password tools. Just put it on the back of your keyboard so it is not visible to everyone from outside.

  45. el_oscuro
    Big Brother

    Micros~1 has been watching you for a while

    Several years ago, we were pen testing an internal web app on IE8 with Windows 7. I set up Burp Suite as an intercepting proxy and watched each request as I logged into the application. Imagine my surprise when out of nowhere, the browser made a request to HTTPS://urs.microsoft.com. And in that request was an XML payload containing my complete request to the internal app, including the login credentials.

    This was literally the definition of a MiTM attack, and researching URS.MICROSOFT.COM, it stands for "URL Reputation Services". Supposedly, it is supposed to identify malicious URLS, and was turned on in a default Windows 7 installation. I could see some sort of opt-in for sending the hostname for checking. Even that is evil if not opt-in. But this? It destroyed what little trust I had in MSFT and ensured I would never use one of their products again.

  46. Neil 8

    DRM

    I especially like that it won't capture DRM content. Like, they do understand privacy / right not to be recorded, just not yours.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: DRM

      So the simple solution to disabling it (assuming it captures nothing if drm video is playing) would be to have a small drm protected video playing at all times.

      maybe something simple like a 24 hour video of a clock that's small enough to dock in the corner of the screen and a player that is smart enough to sync playback with the local time.

  47. mili

    Smart move from Microsoft

    Say goodbye to privacy, but that is exactly what Microsoft offers to companies and parents - total control over what was done with that operating system on this computer. Apparently the threat of people not buying from Microsoft is weak or other pastures appear to be more lucrative. In any case Microsoft offers an Orwellian world on a silver plate and I think the workplace culture at many companies is already just on step close. Of course "Animal Farm" will be the reality and Microsoft is handing over the keys.

  48. Jason Hindle

    Stretching the limits of feasibility

    Even if the feature turns out to be useful for some, I don't think Microsoft will ever be able to create a finished product that would work in a business setting while complying with legal compliance, privacy, and corporate policies. Without the active intrusion that comes with Recall, the current LLMs are already a minefield if you aren't switched on to the compliance aspects of day-to-day business.

  49. ChipsforBreakfast
    FAIL

    The end of Windows (at least for me)

    The very minute this becomes part of Windows is the same minute I will remove windows from every single device I own. I do not care how many 'safeguards' Microsoft has created. I have no interest in how 'safe' they say this is. The fact it exists at all makes it a risk and if experience has taught us anything about such risks they will, sooner or later, be exploited.

    This has no possible benefit to users. None. Combine it however with the myriad of other data already collected by Windows and it becomes an absolute treasure trove for Microsoft, for advertisers, for lawyers, for government agencies, for hackers...

    This is no different from the 'productivity monitoring' software so rightly hated by employees and vilified by privacy advocates. In many ways it's worse. It may actually make Windows unusable in some environments - think banking, medical services etc. - areas where access to and dissemination of information is strictly controlled and monitored. Would you, as a CIO, want to be the one standing in front of the board/regulator/court when the inevitable data breach happens and all of those screenshots are posted on the web for all to see? I sure as hell wouldn't.

    In point of fact the news this is even being considered gives the Windows OS a place on my risk register - not a high one, yet, but one I will be keeping a very, very close eye on.

    Microsoft may well be about to do what open-source advocates have failed to do for years - drive real enterprise consideration of alternative operating systems!

  50. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

    All this talk about China spying and we have Microsoft doing far more spying x100 and where is the US gov ?

    Will they allow this on WhiteHouse computers ?

  51. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

    WHy cant users sue microsoft for copyright infringement for consuming private or corporate secrets that they have no license ?

  52. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

    Why do corporations bother with stupid shit like this. Ai gives no value of any kind and this is only opening up the doors for a lot of illwill not to mention litigation.

    As always american corporations try so hard for a few dollars and end up gaining nothing .

  53. jmch Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Priorities.....

    "for the relatively small number of users running its Edge browser... ...InPrivate sessions won't be snapped, nor will DRM content."

    Or in plain English, we don't give a shit about the privacy of our customers but deity forbid we get involved in any copyright litigation!

  54. david1024

    So, the data isn't the issue

    Employers have been doing this for years already though. Generally they can't be bothered to process the data, but that is going to get automated now.

  55. TheFifth

    Timing

    I use an app called Timing for Mac. It works by using the MacOS accessibility functions to read what the current active app and open document is. It also tracks the website you're currently viewing, however it doesn't track private browsing in all the browsers I've tried it with.

    It allows you to setup projects where you define what folders the content for that project is in and what websites you use for it. You can also setup keywords that are relevant to that project. Then when tracking, any time you open a file in those folders, browse a website on the project's site list, or have a window title that uses the defined keywords, the time is automatically assigned to that project.

    As a freelancer who often bounces between multiple clients each day, it's been immensely useful for me to ensure I charge fully for my time. I've used all sorts of manual time trackers and I always forget to start and stop timers. This just times everything and assigns it to the correct project without any interaction beyond initial setup. It's really helps to ensure I charge for all those little 'can you just' jobs that clients ask for that can often slip between the cracks come monthly invoicing.

    Now... I completely understand what an absolute privacy nightmare this could be. Many of the same criticisms of MS Recall can also be levelled against Timing. However, I have it installed on a Mac Mini I use exclusively for work, I'm the only one who uses that computer, it respects private browsing and, probably most importantly, it doesn't take constant screenshots of everything. It only logs the active app, document path, window title and website. Also, that data never leaves my machine. Timing do offer a cloud syncing feature, but I do not use it. All this obviously could still be a problem, but for me the pros outweigh the cons.

    I think that many of the issues MS has here could be alleviated if they weren't taking constant screenshots. Surely MS can get most of the required info from APIs like Timing does? I guess that means they wouldn't be able to assess things with 'AI', which just isn't cool at the moment. On a strictly work machine, I'm happy to live with the privacy compromises of Timing, but I don't think I'd ever be happy with software that was taking constant screenshots of what's going on on my computer. What about all those passwords I enter into config files? API keys etc.? Too risky for me.

    1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

      Re: Timing

      I feel sorry for people that need to run apps like this to track their time.

      Sounds like they are in a prison of the worst kind, where their mind and soul are completely owned by some company and this is part of their "culture" but they pretend they are free.

      1. TheFifth

        Re: Timing

        Not in prison here! As I say, I work for myself so have complete control over when I do or don't work. I also give myself a generous amount of time off each year.

        This is all about ensuring I charge for every minute of my time. It's not about being beholden to my clients. I was amazed how much more time I was invoicing for when I started using Timing. All those little 10 to 20 minute jobs that would be forgotten come monthly invoicing can really add up.

        I'm sure my clients wish I didn't track my time like this and instead went back to my old way of "perhaps I'll remember to start a timer, perhaps I won't".

        1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

          Re: Timing

          Perhaps YOU do work for yourself, but the fact this app exists means there are a lot of people who are tracked worse than prisoners.

          1. TheFifth

            Re: Timing

            Timing seems to be squarely aimed at freelance workers and not big companies tracking all of their employees. It even allows you to overwrite chunks of time with 'Tasks', so no matter what you were doing, it will mark it down against whatever project you say. It also allows you to start and stop time trackers manually, so you can manually add time to projects whenever you want. The data is only on your machines unless you share a timesheet, so it's not a lot of good for nefariously spying on someone's work.

            So whilst I agree that there will be software out there that is designed to track every second of a worker's time, which is oppressive, I don't think Timing is that software. I'm sure it will be possible to use MS Recall in an oppressive way, but the whole reason I brought up Timing was to point out that tracking, if done right, can be a very useful thing for freelance workers.

            Not affiliated with them in any way, just a happy customer.

            1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

              Re: Timing

              Yes i am aware it is for freelancers, im simply saying counting down tot he last second is completely unnecessary.

              Whats next ?

              This is extreme monitoring that should be illegal. Its dehumanising people and turning everything into a transaction that must be measured to the smallest possible unit for every last cent of profit.

              This is the same reason why americans dont have free healthcare, no worker protection like being sick one day or helping someone at home, simply bosses forget about being human and only count every last cent today and fail to see the massive amount of illwill for their entire future.

  56. navarac Silver badge

    Red Line

    If I hadn't already switched to Linux, Recall would have been a Red Line for me. I don't believe it is Safe and Secure, and although only on Copilot + PCs for now, of course it WILL filter down the pipeline, and finish on OneDrive. Why wouldn't it? I don't believe a word Big Tech says when it involves the bottom line, ie $ £ $ £ $ £

  57. Bottle_Cap

    F*ck this.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obligatory

    Year of the linux desktop?

  59. Redact Ted

    Required for predictive personal AI assistant?

    Not keen on the idea, obvs.

    But I can see the only effective way for a predictive personal AI - as in an AI assistant that can truly anticipate what you want/like - is to understand you through revealed preferences.

    It can't only rely on what you choose to tell it (either in the form of what you ask as that is too directed, or by nominating topics) 'cos humans spend a lot if time lying to themselves and curating an image of themselves that isn't necessarily going to result in a satisfying assistant. Aside from that even if we were willing to, we wouldn't have the time to give all the information and detail needed for the AI.

    It's all the stuff around the outside of what you actively think of that is useful. Using the content of what you are doing every few seconds seems like a way to do this.

    Like Google's ai trawling through emails and text messages to form auto responses etc.

    (Yes obviously monetization, privacy, game performance, space requirements etc etc I don't like it, just an interesting thought experiment on how to make a useful personal ai).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Required for predictive personal AI assistant?

      Like Google's ai trawling through emails and text messages to form auto responses etc.

      I now have an email reply that says:

      Thank you for your Co-Pilot AI machine generated email. This has been automatically detected and dumped, and this automatic reply sent.

      To have your email displayed to a human, please have an actual human write again using it's own words,

      Of course I have no such automatic detector, or for that matter any manual way of telling if they are using co-pilot, but it's a great new way to waste a bit of corporate drone effort, whilst wasting none of mine, when I'm wanting to add a bit more delay.

      Really, you don't even have to use AI, to start making it work for you today! How great is that?

      (If anyone asks, just say that Co-Pilot uploads everything it writes to Microsoft, so that the Exchange 365 Co-Pilot filter can instantly tell if emails contain Co-Pilot generated content and send them to spam.)

  60. imanidiot Silver badge

    Windows 10 is the last windows for me

    I've decided it's highly unlikely I'll be updating my Windows version any further after Win10 support runs out. With news like this I've just had it. Linux it is then.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows 10 is the last windows for me

      Win 11 is proof that, with Microsoft products, you should not just avoid the v1 release but also the 10 following..

  61. Test Man

    Taking aside the fact that BitLocker will only come into play on Windows 11 Pro or Enterprise devices – everyone else must make do with "data encryption"

    It's all BitLocker, even on Home. The only difference is that on Home it's "feature-limited" which they name something else, while the full-featured-with-lots-of-options feature on other editions is called BitLocker.

    Functionally speaking, it's the same encryption and therefore absolutely no difference in this context.

    1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      On none-home you can switch to AES256-XTC - unless you hack around the registry. Does the home version still have regedit?

  62. Rick594

    I started moving all our PC's to Linux last month, and thank god I did. Microsoft is becoming a nightmare.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AI expert Gary Marcus was blunter: "F^ck that. I don't want my computer to spy on everything I ever do."

    Then you should not use anything made by Microsoft to start with - and they're not the only one to avoid.

  64. An_Old_Dog Silver badge
    Joke

    Combining Recall with an ML-Driven "Clippy"

    "Hello, there. You seem to be searching for classified and confidential documents. Can I help you with that?"

  65. random internet moose

    Rekal

    I would insist calling it "Rekal".

    I always find Philip K. Dick novels a bit of a nightmare and tad depressing, though.

    1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Re: Rekal

      Way too many of his novels show how much drugs he took, sadly. I gave up reading all of him and concentrated on the famous ones.

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