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Microsoft’s Windows 11 Update 24H2: Controversial Recall Feature Sparks Privacy Concerns

Microsoft’s Windows 11 Update 24H2: Controversial Recall Feature Sparks Privacy Concerns

Microsoft’s latest update for Windows 11, version 24H2, has introduced a controversial feature called “Recall.” This AI-powered tool promises to revolutionize how users search for past activities on their PC. However, security researcher Kevin Beaumont has ignited a firestorm by raising concerns about the potential privacy implications of Recall.

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So, what exactly is Recall, and why is it causing such a stir? Recall functions by capturing periodic screenshots of your entire desktop, including emails, documents, and even passwords. This extensive data collection is then stored locally on your device and indexed by a powerful AI engine. Users can then utilize natural language queries or even visual searches to find anything they’ve done on their PC in the past.

While Microsoft assures users that their data remains encrypted and secure on their devices, Beaumont argues otherwise. He highlights the vulnerability of this stockpiled data to malware or unauthorized access. If a hacker were to gain control of your PC, they could potentially access this treasure trove of screenshots, exposing a vast amount of sensitive information.

The privacy concerns surrounding Recall aren’t limited to external threats.

Critics also point out the chilling effect it could have on user behaviour. Knowing that their every action is being recorded in the background might discourage users from engaging in certain online activities or lead to self-censorship.

The controversy has reached such a boiling point that the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has investigated the feature. The ICO is particularly interested in understanding Microsoft’s safeguards to protect user privacy.

Conversely, Microsoft maintains that Recall is a powerful productivity tool that prioritizes user privacy. The company emphasizes that data remains encrypted on-device and that users have complete control over the feature, including disabling it entirely.

Only time will tell how this controversy unfolds. Whether Recall becomes a staple Windows feature or fades into obscurity remains to be seen. However, one thing is certain: the debate surrounding Recall has sparked a crucial conversation about the balance between innovation, convenience, and user privacy in the age of AI.


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