In light of Windows 10: Comparing Service and Privacy agreements

There’s been a lot of media attention regarding Windows 10 and privacy concerns. Unfortunately not all reports contain correct facts while others suggest some of the implemented technology is unique for Windows 10. There’s a lot of bad reporting (do some of them even fact check?) or even malicious FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) out there.

Now, don’t get me wrong, knowing how the products you use handle your (meta)data and privacy is IMHO very important and should receive all the scrutiny. But it is equally important to get it right.

Being annoyed by all the FUD, inspired by Ed Bott’s article No, Microsoft is not spying on you with Windows 10 I’ve decided to check other Service and Privacy agreements of other operating systems and equivalent cloud services and compare them as fair as possible. As Windows 10 is basically a multi form factor OS, I wanted to compare it with Apple’s Mac OS and iOS and Google’s Chrome OS (basically Chrome) as they are the big three OS and devices companies.

Android is a bit of a weird OS as the responsibility lies with the manufacturers of the device in question and not specifically with Google, unlike Windows and MacOS/iOS. Searching for agreements specifically to Android point towards Google’s Service agreement (because of the Google Play store, which could be regarded as a service). For this post this shouldn’t be a problem as the privacy concerns are when any data leaves you device, which means that you (consciously or unconsciously) use services.

When relevant, some of the comparable supporting cloud services are included. Please note that I’m no legal expert, but I do think I’m able to determine whether Windows 10 or rather what is stated in the agreements is unique in data gathering and should receive more scrutiny regarding privacy.

Now, my focus are the agreements in which Microsoft, Apple and Google tell you what to expect when using their products. Here and there I’ve added some context by adding some technical info on how it works within the products, but that is subject to change and I might have overlooked some aspects.

There are some other posts that have done similar things, like Richard Hay on WinSuperSite, Rod Trent on WindowsITPro and Alex Hern on The Guardian, but I wanted to do this anyway and hope I can add some extra value to this discussion.

Beware, this is going to be a long post 🙂

Sources

If there is a selection to be made regarding region or country, I’ve standardized to all excerpts from USA sources. So, depending on the region the texts may vary. Starting points of the sources I’ve used (although I’ve not used them all) are the following:

Google

Apple

Microsoft

Topics of concern

The biggest concerns tend to be:

  • Diagnostic & telemetry information
  • Location (GPS) data
  • Typed/inking/speech data sent to the mothership
    • “Spying” and “keylogging”, generally has close ties to personal assistants (Cortana, Siri, Google Now)
  • Advertising

There are certainly more subjects that can be investigated, but these four should provide a good impression on how the three companies work. Of these features it’s not always clear how it works or what they use at first sight, most services that use your personal data are often a conscious choice. These investigated areas are less conscious IMHO. I urge you to check these statements and investigate other topics yourselves.

I’ve also written about how easy/hard it is to find this information, the quality of the information provided and default settings.

I’ll try and find the relevant passages, quote passages and compare equivalents of the aforementioned big three. To keep this post a bit more readable, the quoted passages are posted at the end of this post beyond the conclusion under the header Excerpts.

My Findings

Discoverability

Searching for those pages wasn’t that hard, although with Apple you have to select the specific service and then your country. There are separate documents if you look at the software license agreements. Some are PDF’s and some are web based. Google’s pages are also somewhat scattered but I found the info I was looking for more easily, although I couldn’t find everything I needed (Google Now for instance). The Microsoft pages at least consolidated, with a Frequently asked Question page specifically for Windows 10. Which IMHO more user friendly compared to the other two. One downside is that it can be confusing for which form factor it is meant, main example is the possible removal of illegal software which is meant for Xbox One which will be running Windows 10.

In all cases the privacy and Service agreements can be found during install/first startup (Microsoft/Apple) or by looking in settings (Google, devices might differ). In my opinion Microsoft and Apple do it better than Google, when you start using their devices/OS.

Information provided

In my opinion all of them only give general but enough information about what kind of diagnostic data is collected. What is actually is sent is not visible for users. I’m okay with that, it’s probably not that useful for non experts, but it proves at least some willingness to more transparency (not saying that not doing this is being malevolent secretive, mind you. I see it as an extra service).

In practically all cases a method of adjusting a (privacy related) setting is explained in the documents mentioned (very specific or somewhat more general).

If I could find anything explicitly mentioned that something is done, I assume it is not done. For instance, I couldn’t find any information whether Apple enables you to delete location history (if it is saved by them). In that case, I assume they don’t provide you with that option.

Default setting

One of the concerns is that some settings related to privacy are enable per by default in Windows 10. While I understand this criticism it is actually not completely true. While installing Windows 10 (either clean or via in-place upgrade), users have the option to use Express Settings which enables most features while the Custom Setting allows to change those settings before they are active (with one notable exception).

I do concede that the Custom Settings option should be more prominent or those questions should be asked always (reversing as it is now), but it’s still a choice and thus calling those settings default enabled is not entirely correct IMHO. Apple and Google do ask very explicit (with their out-of-the-box experience) some features discussed, although I didn’t check this thoroughly.

This aspect wasn’t the focus of my research, but still relevant enough to not leave unmentioned. I have checked some settings on my Apple iPad 2 and my Yarvik Noble 7c (Android 4.1.1., default vendor settings, not rooted).

Diagnostics & Telemetry

I’ve provided a table to easily compare between the three companies. To see which sources I’ve used, scroll down to the Excerpts section at the end of this post.

Diagnostics & Telemetry Microsoft Apple Google
Opt-in No (1) Yes Yes (2)
Can be disabled No (1) Yes (3) Yes
Used for improvement (new features) Yes Yes Yes
Used for diagnosis or errors Yes Yes Yes
Uses Personal Data No (4) No (4) No (4)
  1. With Custom Settings at first start you can set the amount of telemetry gathered and sent to Microsoft (On means Full, off means Enhanced. Unfortunately not Basic). It cannot be turned of completely. The Express setting does state the default and recommended settings can send data to Microsoft.
  2. This was derived from agreements specifically for Chrome OS, on my Android device I didn’t have the option to toggle Usage & Diagnostics. I’m not sure if anything is sent with this device.
  3. Apple also offers the option to prevent sending diagnostic and usage info to app developers.
  4. Only by accident due to memory captures. With Microsoft this would only happen with the Full setting and not with Basic and Enhanced. An option Apple and Google don’t provide it seems.

Basically they all do practically the same, although Google and Apple seem to choose for an Opt-in (however, I do not know when they present you this selection, I think as part of an out-of-the-box experience), as with the default (Express Settings) Microsoft turns it on at the highest setting, using the Custom Settings and turning the feature of will enable it at the Enhanced setting (and not the lowest Basic setting). Telemetry in Windows 10 Home and Pro cannot be turned off completely without third party tools or Microsoft tools. However, in all cases no personal data is sent back home intentionally. Admins can turns this off completely with a GPO (Group Policy Object).

All of them state that the data collected or analysis of the data can be shared with third parties, although it is always striped for identifiable data and only used for improvement purposes. Apple provides an option to prevent sending this information to App developers.

Location

I’ve provided a table to easily compare between the three companies. To see which sources I’ve used, scroll down to the Excerpts section at the end of this post.

Location Microsoft Apple Google
Opt-in Yes (1) Yes Yes
Per app setting Yes Yes No (2)
Sent to cloud No (3) Yes Yes
Location History? Yes (4) No Yes (5)
Anonymous Yes Optional Yes
Can be disabled Yes (6) Yes (6) Yes (6)
  1. With Express Settings.
  2. Not on Android 4.1.1, later versions may have (hidden) features. Even without rooting.
  3. Not explicitly states as Apple and Google do.
  4. Only for 24 hours on device or reboot.
  5. Stored with your Google account and can be disabled.
  6. All of them warn that turning off GPS is not enough, other sources can be used like mobile connections, WiFi locations, IP addresses etc.. Sometimes the Find My Device or built-in anti-theft features have to disabled seperately.

Microsoft shows only info about device location history (stored locally), nothing about data sent to Microsoft in the agreements. Although it’s unclear what Microsoft means with the part “all location lookup for apps and services“, my emphasis on services which suggest cloud services. It’s possible they mean the Find My Device feature in Windows Phone/10 Mobile, but that is also true for equivalent features in Apple and Google devices. In any case, the location history is only kept for a maximum of 24 hours or a reboot.

I know that Google stores the location history with your Google account, which can be disabled. I couldn’t find that info in the Terms of Service or Privacy Policy, but I did find this in the Technologies and Principles section. On my Android tablet (Yarvik Noble, with Android 4.1.1) those features where disable per default (there was no configure screen at first start-up).

In any case it is possible that apps, when allowed access send location data to third parties. Which is true for all devices and can be different per app, in which case you should read the Privacy and Service Agreements of those specific (third-party) apps and services.

Typed/inking/speech data

I’ve provided a table to easily compare between the three companies. To see which sources I’ve used, scroll down to the Excerpts section at the end of this post.

Typed/inking/speech data Microsoft Apple Google
Opt-in Yes (1) Yes No info
Can be wiped Yes No No info
Sent to cloud Yes Yes (2) No info
Can be disabled Yes No (2) No info
  1. When you choose Custom settings at first start up.
  2. There is an option to use non-Enhanced dictation which will not send speech data to Apple. I’ve interpreted this as the option to disable this.

Note that Apple and Microsoft also send Calendar and People information stored on your device in order to improve the specific features that use (mostly) speech. Probably for personal assistant (Siri, Cortana) features like “Call John Doe”.

Another interesting bit is that Apple specifically states that with the use of Enhanced Dictation, you agree that the collected voice and user data can be sent to third parties in order to improve Apple products and services.

Microsoft doesn’t state anything about third parties, but it does state that some data is stored on the device or in the cloud and also to improve handwriting recognition, dictionary prediction etc.. This can be wiped though, an option Apple does not provide.

Interestingly enough I couldn’t find any information about this in the Google documents. I couldn’t find any specific information about inking, typing or speech in the Privacy or Service agreements. However a new Voice Typing feature from Google Apps does use cloud services. There are manuals on how to enable Google Now and voice activation, but nothing on how that exactly works and what (type, voice) data is sent to Google.

Advertising

I’ve provided a table to easily compare between the three companies. To see which sources I’ve used, scroll down to the Excerpts section at the end of this post.

With advertising I mean targeted advertisement.

Advertising Microsoft Apple Google
Opt-in Yes (1) No Yes (2)
Disable interest based? Yes Yes Yes
Uses personal data No No Yes
  1. When you use Custom settings you can disable the interest based advertising in Windows 10 apps. However, for browsing it is only an Opt-Out.
  2. No settings on device itself (on my Android device, it might on yours), dependent on Google account and local browser settings.

In all cases you cannot prevent that apps display adds, the only difference is that your behavior might be monitored in order to provide specific ads based on your interests. This is where the specific ad id, that all of them use, comes in to play. So, they target you on a separate ID, independent of your account ID or other personal identifiable information.

The biggest difference here is that Google is the only one that analyses your personal data content (i.e. GMail) in order to create personalized ads while Apple and Microsoft focus on anonymous behavior performed on the device. This was the focus of Microsoft’s infamous Scroogled campaign. Microsoft even explicitly states that they will not use your personal data (highlighted) to give you targeted ads (however they are allowed to use your content for promoting the service, but only if it’s already public.)

Apple and Microsoft due offer options to control targeted advertising on the device itself, something I couldn’t find on my Google device but could be on yours. In that case you probably have to adjust your Google account settings, similar to something Microsoft also offers. I’m not completely sure whether Apple’s Limit Ad Tracking is per default on or off, or whether it is asked during first start up.

Conclusion

Microsoft really wants your telemetry, as without some extra assistance you cannot turn it off completely, even the Custom settings will set it to Enhanced instead of the even lower setting of Basic. This is not the case with Apple and Google, although I could find any settings on my Android device. It might be version or vendor specific.

But is it a bad thing that Microsoft really wants you to send Telemetry data? Personally I don’t think so, as stated the minimal setting will not send any personal data to Microsoft. So, what’s the privacy concern anyway? It’s still data with which you cannot be identified (as long there is no accidental personal data sent with it). How harmful could that be if it where to leak outside these companies? That’s a question worth answering first, before freaking out.

The data will be used to improve the OS and considering that Windows runs on an almost infinite combination of hardware that data is probably crucial to Microsoft. This is less of an issue for Apple, as their hardware is manufactured by themselves and compared to PC’s have less variation. Google’s Chrome OS is open source and OEM can modify it to suit their needs. Although I don’t have any hands-on experience with the OS itself, I suspect the hardware configurations are more standardized than devices running Windows. That would mean that Apple and Google probably require less telemetry data in order to improve their OS.

Furthermore, Microsoft provides a granular approach with what is sent to Microsoft. Apple only provides an Setting option not to send diagnostics to app builders. Although there should be settings to toggle those settings, on my Google device it wasn’t available. So, should I assume it’s disabled?

Google seems more “aggressive” here in regards to locations than Microsoft and Apple, with storing your location history with your Google account. On my device it’s an opt-out, but that could be different per device. Also, my Android device cannot change the per app settings (which is a bigger issue with different Android versions, I think). Microsoft does that perhaps a little bit better by only providing a maximum of 24 hours of location history to apps, although they can store that information themselves independently of course.

To me it’s no surprise that Apple and Microsoft use cloud services to leverage required computing power in order to deliver or improve voice recognition services, this way the devices in your hand (or table) don’t have to be power horses. It would be impractical of even impossible to deliver those services. However Apple does offer an local option, with the warning the results are probably less satisfying than using the Enchanced cloud option.

But if your typing etc. is sent to the cloud, is in both cases (Apple and Microsoft) in order to improve handwriting and voice recognition, dictionary prediction etc.. A notable thing is when accepting Enhanced Voice recognition, Apple may send this information including user data (presumably Contacts, nicknames, Homekit devices etc.) also to Apple’s subsidiaries and agents. But that is something Microsoft also states for diagnostic and telemetry information. In both cases it’s anonymous. A welcome feature Microsoft offers is a wipe function for speech/typing/inking data stored on your device and in the cloud. I would welcome something similar from Apple.

Adds in apps are here to stay, not surprising. They all try to provide interest based advertising. They all won’t sell your direct information to third parties, but provide access to profiles. Which can be turned off in all cases, but will it not turn of adds completely. However the most “shocking” would be that Google is the only one that actually uses your personal data to target adds. Looking at the main revenue streams of these big three that shouldn’t come as a big surprise, in my humble opinion.

 

 

Overall, I think the differences are not that shocking. They use mostly similar techniques and similar language in their agreements. The information is readily available and referenced in the devices themselves, although IMHO Microsoft and Apple do a better job than Google. However, Google is not responsible for Android implementations, that’s the vendor’s job. Which is kinda tricky, you won’t get a standardized experience as you would with Apple and Microsoft. But all in all it’s probably the image a certain company has that is correlated with privacy concerns. Microsoft just got the short straw…

Sure, Microsoft could improve on their image by making the Windows 10 Custom setting experience default and Express less available. Also, when using the Custom Setting the Telemetry setting is set to Enhanced. That is weird IMHO, at least set it at the lowest level (Basic) as one would expect. Or give the option to fully disable it, if only as a PR effort.

Personally I don’t mind that these companies collect telemetry, dictation etc… They all use it to improve the OS, Apps or services which would probably look a lot different if they didn’t use that data. And it’s not new, but some sleeping dogs probably woke up with the big Windows 10 launch.

And think of this; what would they (Microsoft, Apple and Google) benefit from using your data in secret? It will eventually get out and then the damage will be greater than any benefit they would have, as my fellow MVP Joost van Schaik wrote in his blog.

What do you think (now)? Is Windows 10 a privacy nightmare? Or is this just the way we all work now, no matter what brand device or service you use? I think the latter.

A big thanks go out to my coworkers Maarten Odekerken for reviewing and Zarco Zwier for reviewing and making some very useful suggestions.

Disclaimer

I’ve done my best to provide objective information, but I’m not infallible and some aspects are a little bit subjective or leave room for interpretation (when is something opt-in or opt-out for instance). While I’ve taken my time reading, checking, comparing etc. I might have overlooked things, mixed them up or assumed something which is faulty. Check those agreements yourself if you have any doubts. Check your devices, make screenshots etc. etc.. I might be wrong, but prove me wrong.

Excerpts

Italic is used to indicate headers and such, corresponding with the formatting of the original form. Bold is my own emphasis and Bold+Italic is emphasis by the source themselves but which I found equally important. The source is provided at the top of the excerpt.

Diagnostics & Telemetry

Microsoft

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/privacystatement/Default.aspx

Usage and connectivity data. Microsoft regularly collects basic information about your Windows device including usage data, app compatibility data, and network and connectivity information. This data is transmitted to Microsoft and stored with one or more unique identifiers that can help us recognize an individual user on an individual device and understand the device’s service issues and use patterns. The data we collect includes:

  • Configuration data, including the manufacturer of your device, model, number of processors, display size and resolution, date, region and language settings, and other data about the capabilities of the device.
  • The software (including drivers and firmware supplied by device manufacturers), installed on the device.
  • Performance and reliability data, such as how quickly programs respond to input, how many problems you experience with an app or device, or how quickly information is sent or received over a network connection.
  • App use data for apps that run on Windows (including Microsoft and third party apps), such as how frequently and for how long you use apps, which app features you use most often, how often you use Windows Help and Support, which services you use to sign into apps, and how many folders you typically create on your desktop.
  • Network and connection data, such as the device’s IP address, number of network connections in use, and data about the networks you connect to, such as mobile networks, Bluetooth, and identifiers (BSSID and SSID), connection requirements and speed of Wi-Fi networks you connect to.
  • Other hardware devices connected to the device.

Some diagnostic data is vital to the operation of Windows and cannot be turned off if you use Windows. Other data collection is optional, and you will be able to turn this data collection on or off in Settings.

Windows Error Reporting. Windows Error Reporting helps Microsoft and Microsoft partners diagnose problems in the software you use and provide solutions. Not all problems have solutions, but when solutions are available, they are offered as steps to solve a problem you’ve reported or as updates to install. To help prevent problems and make software more reliable, some solutions are also included in future releases of the software.

Windows Error Reporting collects information that is useful for diagnosing and solving a problem that has occurred, such as where the problem happened in the software or hardware, the type or severity of the problem, files that help describe the problem, basic software and hardware information, or possible software performance and compatibility problems. Windows Error Reporting also collects information about apps, drivers, and devices to help Microsoft understand and improve app and device compatibility.

If you choose to enable automatic reporting while setting up Windows, the reporting service will automatically send basic information about where problems occur. Some error reports might unintentionally contain personal information. For example, a report that contains a snapshot of PC memory might include your name, part of a document you were working on, or data that you recently submitted to a website. If an error report contains personal data, we won’t use that data to identify, contact, or target advertising to you. Reports including files and data might be stored on your PC until after they have been sent or deleted. You can turn off automatic error reporting at any time in Settings.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-10/feedback-diagnostics-privacy-faq

As you use Windows, we collect performance and usage information that helps us identify and troubleshoot problems as well as improve our products and services. We recommend that you select Full for this setting.

  • Basic information is data that is vital to the operation of Windows. This data helps keep Windows and apps running properly by letting Microsoft know the capabilities of your device, what is installed, and whether Windows is operating correctly. This option also turns on basic error reporting back to Microsoft. If you select this option, we’ll be able to provide updates to Windows (through Windows Update, including malicious software protection by the Malicious Software Removal Tool), but some apps and features may not work correctly or at all.

  • Enhanced data includes all Basic data plus data about how you use Windows, such as how frequently or how long you use certain features or apps and which apps you use most often. This option also lets us collect enhanced diagnostic information, such as the memory state of your device when a system or app crash occurs, as well as measure reliability of devices, the operating system, and apps. If you select this option, we’ll be able to provide you with an enhanced and personalized Windows experience.

  • Full data includes all Basic and Enhanced data, and also turns on advanced diagnostic features that collect additional data from your device, such as system files or memory snapshots, which may unintentionally include parts of a document you were working on when a problem occurred. This information helps us further troubleshoot and fix problems. If an error report contains personal data, we won’t use that information to identify, contact, or target advertising to you. This is the recommended option for the best Windows experience and the most effective troubleshooting.

Apple

http://images.apple.com/legal/sla/docs/OSX10103.pdf

4. Consent to Use of Data.
A. Diagnostic and Usage Data. If you choose to allow diagnostic and usage collection, you agree that Apple and its subsidiaries and agents may collect, maintain, process and use diagnostic, technical, usage and related information, including but not limited to unique system or hardware identifiers, information about your computer, system and application software, and peripherals, that is gathered periodically to provide and improve Apple’s products and services, facilitate the provision of software updates, product support and other services to you (if any) related to the Apple Software, and to verify compliance with the terms of this License. You may change your preferences for Diagnostics & Usage collection at any time by going to the Diagnostics & Usage setting in the Apple Software and deselecting the checkbox. The Diagnostics & Usage setting is found in the Security & Privacy pane within System Preferences. Apple may use this information, as long as it is collected in a form that does not personally identify you, for the purposes described above. To enable Apple’s partners and third party developers to improve their software, hardware and services designed for use with Apple products, Apple may also provide any such partner or third party developer with a subset of diagnostic information that is relevant to that partner’s or developer’s software, hardware and/or services, as long as the diagnostic information is in a form that does not personally identify you.

Almost word for word the same for iOS8.1 (not shown). Here Opt-In is chosen instead of allow. Source:  http://images.apple.com/legal/sla/docs/iOS81.pdf

Google

https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/browser/privacy/

For Chrome browser and Chrome OS, you may choose to send usage statistics and crash reports to Google. You can manage this setting within the Chrome preferences page; for Chrome OS users, usage statistics and crash reports are enabled by default. This setting will apply to all users for a given installation of Chrome. The usage statistics and crash reports help us diagnose problems, help us understand how users interact with Chrome, and help us improve Chrome’s performance.
Chrome tries to avoid sending information that identifies you personally. Crash reports, however, can contain system information at the time of a malfunction, and errors leading up to a malfunction. We may share with third parties certain aggregated, non-personal information we derive from our analysis, such as how frequently certain types of crashes occur.

Location

Microsoft

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-10/location-service-privacy

How does location history work and what does clearing location history do?
Some Windows apps and services that use location info also use location history info. When location is on, all location lookups for apps and services will be stored on the device for a limited time (24 hours in Windows 10), then deleted. Apps that have access to this info will have Uses location history under them in the Choose apps that can use your location list.
Select Clear to clear the location history on your device. The location history will also be cleared when you reboot your device. Note that clearing the location history only clears the history on the device—apps that have already accessed this information prior to it being cleared may have the information stored elsewhere. Refer to your apps’ privacy policies.

Can my device location be discovered if the Windows location service is turned off for my user account?
Yes, there are apps, services, and technologies that can discover your device location even when location is turned off for your user account. Microsoft services like Find My Device and Wi-Fi Sense will still have access to your device location if these services are turned on for your device Your mobile operator will have access to your device’s location if your device is cellular enabled or has a SIM card. Also, third party Classic Windows apps and services that run outside of your user account might still have access to your location. To learn more about user account security, visit the Service User Account page.

Apple

http://www.apple.com/legal/privacy/en-ww/

Location-Based Services
To provide location-based services on Apple products, Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device. Where available, location-based services may use GPS, Bluetooth, and your IP Address, along with crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower locations, and other technologies to determine your devices’ approximate location. Unless you provide consent, this location data is collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you and is used by Apple and our partners and licensees to provide and improve location-based products and services. For example, your device may share its geographic location with application providers when you opt in to their location services.
Some location-based services offered by Apple, such as the “Find My iPhone” feature, require your personal information for the feature to work. You may withdraw consent to Apple and its partners’ and licensees’ collection, use, transmission, processing and maintenance of location and account data at any time by not using the location-based features and turning off the Find My iPhone, Find My Friends, or Location Services settings (as applicable) on your device and computer.

Google

https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/browser/privacy/

If you use Chrome’s location feature, which allows you to share your location with a web site, Chrome will send local network information to Google Location Services to get an estimated location. Learn more about Google Location Services and enabling / disabling location features within Google Chrome. The local network information may include (depending on the capabilities of your device) information about the wifi routers closest to you, cell IDs of the cell towers closest to you, the strength of your wifi or cell signal, and the IP address that is currently assigned to your device. We use the information to process the location request and to operate, support, and improve the overall quality of Chrome and Google Location Services. The collected information described above will be anonymized and aggregated before being used by Google to develop new features or products and services, or to improve the overall quality of any of Google’s other products and services.

If you are using a mobile version of Chrome, and you have granted your Android device or Chrome on iOS permission to access your location, then Chrome may use your location for Google location-enabled services, including for example enhancing omnibox searches.

Typed/inking/speech data

Microsoft

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-10/overview-windows-10-privacy

Personalization is a key benefit to Windows 10.
Personalized speech, inking, and typing. This information helps Windows 10 correctly recognize and personalize your input, so you can have an experience that feels more natural and relevant, based on your contacts and calendar.
Send typing and inking data. Your typed and handwritten words can add to help improve character recognition and provide you with a personalized dictionary and text completion suggestions.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-10/speech-inking-typing-privacy-faq

What are speech, inking, and typing services?
When you interact with your Windows device by speaking, writing (handwriting), or typing, Microsoft collects speech, inking, and typing information—including information about your Calendar and People (also known as contacts)—that helps personalize your experience. This information improves your device’s ability to correctly recognize your input, such as your pronunciation and handwriting. You can turn the Speech, inking, and typing setting (which is called Getting to know you) on or off in Settings.

We also collect your typed and handwritten words to improve character recognition and provide you with a personalized user dictionary and text completion suggestions. Some of this data is stored on your device and some is sent to Microsoft to help improve these services. You can turn the Send Microsoft info about how I write setting on or off in Settings.

Can I clear the speech, inking, and typing data Microsoft has collected about me?
Yes, you can clear your speech, inking, and typing data from your device and from the cloud.
To clear data stored on your Windows device, go to Start  , then select Settings > Privacy > Speech, inking, & typing, and then select Stop getting to know me. This will also stop speech, inking, and typing services from collecting data.
To clear data stored on the cloud, go to Start  , then select Settings > Privacy > Speech, inking, & typing, and then select the Go to Bing and manage personal info for all your devices link.

Apple MacOS

http://images.apple.com/legal/sla/docs/OSX10103.pdf

C. Dictation. To the extent that your Apple-branded computer supports the dictation feature, you can choose to have either your Mac or Apple’s servers perform the speech recognition for you. If you use Enhanced Dictation, your Mac will convert the things you say into text without sending your dictated speech to Apple. If you use server-based Dictation, the things you say will be recorded and sent to Apple to convert what you say into text and your computer will also send Apple other information, such as your name and nickname; and the names, nicknames, and relationship with you (e.g., “my dad”) of your address book contacts (collectively, your “User Data”). All of this data is used to help Dictation better recognize what you say. It is not linked to other data that Apple may have from your use of other Apple services. By using server-based Dictation, you agree and consent to Apple’s and its subsidiaries’ and agents’ transmission, collection, maintenance, processing, and use of this information, including your voice input and User Data, to provide and improve Dictation and Siri functionality in Apple products and services. You can turn off or change your preferences for Dictation at any time by going to the Dictation & Speech pane within System Preferences.

Apple iOS

http://images.apple.com/legal/sla/docs/iOS81.pdf

(c) Siri and Dictation. If your iOS Device supports Siri and Dictation, these features may allow you to make requests, give commands and dictate text to your device using your voice. When you use Siri or Dictation, the things you say will be recorded and sent to Apple in order to convert what you say into text and to process your requests. Your device will also send Apple other information, such as your name and nickname; the names, nicknames, and relationship with you (e.g., “my dad”) of your address book contacts; song names in your collection, and HomeKit-enabled devices in your home (e.g., “living room lights”) (collectively, your “User Data”). All of this data is used to help Siri and Dictation understand you better and recognize what you say. It is not linked to other data that Apple may have from your use of other Apple services. By using Siri or Dictation, you agree and consent to Apple’s and its subsidiaries’ and agents’ transmission, collection, maintenance, processing, and use of this information, including your voice input and User Data, to provide and improve Siri, Dictation, and dictation functionality in other Apple products and services.

If you have Location Services turned on, the location of your iOS Device at the time you make a request to Siri may also be sent to Apple to help Siri improve the accuracy of its response to your location-based requests. You may disable the location-based functionality of Siri by going to the Location Services setting on your iOS Device and turning off the individual location setting for Siri.

Siri can allow you to interact with your iOS Device without needing to unlock it. If you have enabled a passcode on your iOS Device and would like to prevent Siri from being used from the lock screen, you can tap Settings, tap General, tap Passcode Lock and turn the Siri option to “off”.

You can also turn off Siri and Dictation altogether at any time. To do so, open Settings, tap General, tap Siri, and slide the Siri switch to “off”.

I did not find any specific information about typing or inking.

Google

I couldn’t find any specific information about inking, typing or speech in the Privacy or Service agreements. However a new Voice Typing feature from Google Apps does use cloud services. There are manuals on how to enable Google Now and voice activation, but nothing on how that exactly works and what (type, voice) data is sent to Google.

Advertising

Microsoft

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/privacystatement/Default.aspx

Under “How to Access & Control Your Personal Data”

Your Advertising Choices

You may opt out of receiving interest-based advertising from Microsoft by visiting our opt-out page.When you opt out, your selection will be stored in a cookie that is specific to the web browser you are using. The opt-out cookie has an expiration date of five years. If you delete the cookies on your device, you will need to opt out again.

You can also link your opt-out choice with your Microsoft account. It will then apply on any device where you use your Microsoft account, and will continue to apply until someone signs in with a different Microsoft account on that device. If you delete the cookies on your device, you will need to sign in again for the settings to apply.

For advertising that appears in apps on Windows, you may use the Microsoft account opt-out, or opt out of interest-based advertising by turning off the advertising ID in Windows Settings.

Because the data used for interest-based advertising is also used for other necessary purposes (including providing our services, analytics and fraud detection), opting out of interest-based advertising does not stop that data from being collected. Nor does it mean you will stop getting ads or see fewer ads. However, if you do opt out, the ads you receive will no longer be interest-based and may be less relevant to your interests.

Under “Windows>Advertising ID”

Under “Personalization”:

Advertising ID. Advertising ID is a unique identifier, consisting of a random string of characters, which Windows generates for each user on a device. When turned on, apps can access the ID in order to deliver advertising that is relevant to you based on your app usage. You can turn it on or off at any time. If you turn it on again, a new identifier will be generated.

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/servicesagreement/

2. Your Content. Many of our Services allow you to store or share Your Content or receive material from others. We don’t claim ownership of Your Content. Your Content remains Your Content and you are responsible for it.

  • a. When you share Your Content with other people, you understand that they may be able to, on a worldwide basis, use, save, record, reproduce, transmit, display (and on HealthVault delete) Your Content without compensating you. If you do not want others to have that ability, do not use the Services to share Your Content. You represent and warrant that for the duration of these Terms, you have (and will have) all the rights necessary for Your Content that is uploaded, stored or shared on or through the Services and that the collection, use, and retention of Your Content will not violate any law or rights of others. Microsoft cannot be held responsible for Your Content or the material others upload, store or share using the Services.
  • b. To the extent necessary to provide the Services to you and others, to protect you and the Services, and to improve Microsoft products and services, you grant to Microsoft a worldwide and royalty-free intellectual property license to use Your Content, for example, to make copies of, retain, transmit, reformat, display, and distribute via communication tools Your Content on the Services. If you publish Your Content in areas of the Service where it is available broadly online without restrictions, Your Content may appear in demonstrations or materials that promote the Service. Controls for how Microsoft personalizes advertising are available on the Security & privacy page of the Microsoft account management website. We do not use what you say in email, chat, video calls or voice mail, or your documents, photos or other personal files to target advertising to you. Our advertising policies are covered in detail in the Privacy Statements.
Apple MacOS

http://images.apple.com/legal/sla/docs/OSX10103.pdf

Nothing on advertising

Apple iOS

http://images.apple.com/legal/sla/docs/iOS81.pdf

(g) Interest-Based Advertising from iAd. Apple may provide mobile, interest-based advertising to you. If you do not want to receive relevant ads on your iOS Device, you can opt out by going to the Limit Ad Tracking setting on your iOS Device. If you opt out, you will continue to receive the same number of mobile ads, but they may be less relevant because they will not be based on your interests. You may still see ads related to the content on a web page or in an application or based on other non-personal information.

Google

http://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/privacy/#products

We use information collected from cookies and other technologies, like pixel tags, to improve your user experience and the overall quality of our services. One of the products we use to do this on our own services is Google Analytics. For example, by saving your language preferences, we’ll be able to have our services appear in the language you prefer. When showing you tailored ads, we will not associate an identifier from cookies or similar technologies with sensitive categories, such as those based on race, religion, sexual orientation or health.
Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection.

We may combine personal information from one service with information, including personal information, from other Google services – for example to make it easier to share things with people you know. We will not combine DoubleClick cookie information with personally identifiable information unless we have your opt-in consent.

We will ask for your consent before using information for a purpose other than those that are set out in this Privacy Policy.

More specific information about how Google uses targeted ads can be found here : http://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/technologies/ads/

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