Windows 10
Windows 10: How to get around Microsoft's privacy policy        (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya)

Microsoft's new Privacy statement and Services agreement came into effect on 1 August, a couple of days after the company officially released its new operating system Windows 10.

The 45-page service agreement document details Microsoft's consumer services such as Bing, Cortana, Microsoft account, OneDrive, Outlook.com, Skype and Xbox Live.

But one part of it is reportedly a matter of concern as it talks about accessing users' data.

Following is an excerpt from Microsoft's privacy statement:

Finally, we will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to:

1: comply with applicable law or respond to valid legal process, including from law enforcement or other government agencies;

2: protect our customers, for example to prevent spam or attempts to defraud users of the services, or to help prevent the loss of life or serious injury of anyone;

3: operate and maintain the security of our services, including to prevent or stop an attack on our computer systems or networks; or

4: protect the rights or property of Microsoft, including enforcing the terms governing the use of the services - however, if we receive information indicating that someone is using our services to traffic in stolen intellectual or physical property of Microsoft, we will not inspect a customer's private content ourselves, but we may refer the matter to law enforcement.

You can opt out of the privacy policy through a few customisations in settings. Here is how:

Customise privacy settings: Head over to Settings>> Privacy and go through the 13 different screens including apps and programs having access to your location, contacts, messaging details and camera. Then disable/turn the settings off accordingly.

Disable Cortana: Cortanta, Microsoft's personal digital assistant, learns user's preferences and offers quick access to accurate information. It logs a user's past searches and provides suggestions and search results that are more personalised.

The details Cortana uses travel via Microsoft's server. So you might consider disabling the feature, if you are concerned about your privacy. For a detailed guide, head over here to learn how to disable Coratna.

Disable ads: The ads that you get depend on users' data, otherwise it would have been all swamped with ads. Windows 10 ads deliver you the targeted ads when you log into your Microsoft account, irrespective of all platforms: mobile, tablet or PC. However, you always have the choice of opting out of this: just go to an external website and turn both personalised ad options to off.

Switch to a local account: Another way is to use a new local account instead of using your existing Windows account. This would prevent Microsoft from accessing your data.

Source: The Independent