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

The Register: “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 earlier, Windows takes a snapshot of a user’s active screen every few seconds and dumps it to disk. The user can then scroll through the archive of snapshots to find what were doing some time back, or query an AI system to recall past screenshots by text. The Windows 11 feature is supposed to eventually expand to allow users to pull up anything that happened recently on their Copilot+ PC and interact with or use it again, as the system logs all app activity, communications, and so on, as well as by-the-second screenshots, to local storage for search and retrieval. Microsoft, which was just scolded by the US government for lax security, said: “Recall will also enable you to open the snapshot in the original application in which it was created, and, as Recall is refined over time, it will open the actual source document, website, or email in a screenshot. This functionality will be improved during Recall’s preview phase.”

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