Microsoft may spy on Windows 10 users to make sure they don’t play pirated games

Despite being generally well-received, Windows 10 has been confronted with some bitter criticism concerning a series of alleged privacy obstructions. The latest of these stems from Microsoft’s End User License Agreement, or EULA, with WinBeta reporting that Microsoft has reserved the right to check your system for “playing counterfeit games, or using unauthorized hardware peripheral devices.”

Save $20 on Ultimate Help Desk service for Win10 transitions. MSRP $99.99

For an operating system that runs an array of utilities which, mind you, can also be pirated, it’s bizarre to think that Microsoft would only be targeting games in its analyses. One might wonder why the company would not also check for ubiquitously pirated productivity suites such as Adobe Creative Cloud and Microsoft Office.

Of course, it may (also) be a case of Microsoft cracking down on the modification of its Xbox game consoles, a popular trend seen in the days of the original Xbox and its successor, the Xbox 360.

To accomplish this, gamers download software to their PCs, deploying it to their consoles via an external media device. Microsoft thus may be taking these steps in an attempt to prevent similar instances with the Xbox One as a means of suppressing hacking tool possession.

This would make sense since online communities have been trying to exploit the console since its launch in 2013. However, the language used in the agreement is reportedly too vague to discern Microsoft’s likely intent, and we can be sure the firm’s top-notch lawyers chose that ambiguous language knowingly.

Also ambiguous is whether Microsoft intends to share with law enforcement the information they obtain concerning users downloading “counterfeit games,” or if they simply plan to disable the stolen software.

Likewise, now that Windows 10 is used more liberally across platforms including PC, mobile, Xbox, HoloLens, and Surface Hub, EULAs are assembled more broadly. They must now include written safeguards against stolen phones, Xbox mods, enterprise security, and required updates.

The pervasiveness of Windows 10 is bringing with it not only technical challenges, but also legal challenges in producing a single, intelligible agreement.

Returning to the basics with Windows 10, Microsoft has pleased its customers, new and old. But with that out of the way, it’s now time to transparently acknowledge our concerns. Enough silence, Microsoft, what are you doing with our data?

Gaming

Fortnite V-Bucks being used by criminals for money laundering on dark web

Criminals are using Fortnite's V-Bucks for money laundering schemes on the dark web. Epic Games, apparently, is not doing enough to prevent the game from being used for the illegal activity.
Computing

Delete tracking cookies from your system by following these quick steps

Cookies are useful when it comes to saving your login credentials and other data, but they can also be used by advertisers to track your browsing habits across multiple sites. Here's how to clear cookies in the major browsers.
Gaming

‘Fortnite’ security flaw let hackers spy on players through microphones

A security vulnerability found in Fortnite allowed hackers to gain access to other players' accounts, potentially letting them spy on conversations using the in-game microphone. It has been addressed.
Computing

Still miss Windows 7? Here's how to make Windows 10 look more like it

There's no simple way of switching on a Windows 7 mode in Windows 10. Instead, you can install third-party software, manually tweak settings, and edit the registry. We provide instructions for using these tweaks and tools.
Computing

The Asus ZenBook 13 offers more value and performance than Apple's MacBook Air

The Asus ZenBook 13 UX333 is the latest in that company's excellent "budget" laptop line, and it looks and feels better than ever. How does it compare to Apple's latest MacBook Air?
Computing

AMD Radeon VII will support DLSS-like upscaling developed by Microsoft

AMD's Radeon VII has shown promise with early tests of an open DLSS-like technology developed by Microsoft called DirectML. It would provide similar upscale features, but none of the locks on hardware choice.
Computing

You could be gaming on AMD’s Navi graphics card before the end of the summer

If you're waiting for a new graphics card from AMD that doesn't cost $700, you may have to wait for Navi. But that card may not be far away, with new rumors suggesting we could see a July launch.
Computing

Is AMD's Navi back on track for 2019? Here's everything you need to know

With a reported launch in 2019, AMD is focusing on the mid-range market with its next-generation Navi GPU. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles, like Sony's PlayStation 5.
Computing

Cortana wants to be friends with Alexa and Google Assistant

Microsoft no longer wants to compete against Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant in the digital assistant space. Instead, it wants to transform Cortana into a skill that can be integrated into other digital assistants.
Computing

Microsoft leans on A.I. to resume safe delivery of Windows 10 Update

Microsoft is leaning on artificial intelligence as it resumes the automatic rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update. You should start seeing the update soon now that Microsoft has resolved problems with the initial software.
Computing

Stop dragging windows on your Mac. Here's how to use Split View to multitask

The latest iterations of MacOS offer a native Split View feature that can automatically divide screen space between two applications. Here's how to use Split View on a Mac, adjust it as needed, and how it can help out.
Computing

It's not all free money. Here's what to know before you try to mine Bitcoin

Mining Bitcoin today is harder than it used to be, but if you have enough time, money, and cheap electricity, you can still turn a profit. Here's how to get started mining Bitcoin at home and in the cloud.
Computing

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. This list of the best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.
Computing

What is fixed wireless 5G? Here’s everything you need to know

Here's fixed wireless 5G explained! Learn what you need to know about this effective new wireless technology, when it's available, how much it costs, and more. If you're thinking about 5G, this guide can help!