Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Microsoft’s new AI feature described as “privacy nightmare”

Published 27 May 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Microsoft's upcoming Copilot+PC was unveiled the other day.

Microsoft’s new AI feature Recall, which stores encrypted screenshots on your computer, has been called a “privacy nightmare”. However, the tech giant insists that privacy has been taken into account and says that Recall will be an “optional experience”.

The AI feature will be exclusive to the upcoming Copilot+PC, and means that it will automatically take screenshots every few seconds, the images are then saved locally on the computer. The idea is to be able to go back and find specific things from the web history just by describing them. In practice, Recall has the ability to search through a user’s past activities, files, photos, emails and browsing history, as well as passwords.

This could be a privacy nightmare, said Dr Kris Shrishak, an adviser on AI and privacy, to British state broadcaster BBC.

The mere fact that screenshots will be taken during use of the device could have a chilling effect on people.

Daniel Tozer, a data and privacy expert at Keystone Law, points out that the system is reminiscent of the dystopian Netflix program Black Mirror, and that it can also have economic consequences.

There may well be information on the screen which is proprietary or confidential to the user’s employer; will the business be happy for Microsoft to be recording this?

Questions raised

However, Microsoft insists that privacy has been taken into account and says that Recall should be an “optional experience”. Furthermore, users should be able to restrict which images Recall collects, the company says in a statement.

Recall data is only stored locally and not accessed by Microsoft or anyone who does not have device access“, the firm said in a statement.

The UK’s privacy regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), says it has “raised questions” with the company about the AI feature.

We are making enquiries with Microsoft to understand the safeguards in place to protect user privacy, they said.

TNT is truly independent!

We don’t have a billionaire owner, and our unique reader-funded model keeps us free from political or corporate influence. This means we can fearlessly report the facts and shine a light on the misdeeds of those in power.

Consider a donation to keep our independent journalism running…

Share via