Microsoft’s Controversial Windows “Recall” Feature Is Now “Opt-In” & Disabled By Default

Microsoft has clarified its stance on its Windows Recall feature, stating that the firm will ensure the security and protection of user data.

Microsoft Finally Makes Windows Recall User “Opt-In”, Working To Put The Feature In A Much Better State

Well, before we dive into what Microsoft has disclosed about Windows Recall, let’s take a quick recap of what caused the debate around the firm’s newly announced AI-focused feature. Microsoft’s Windows Recall is a feature that was said to significantly enhance user experience by recording everything the user does on the PC through snapshots rather than specific recordings. In this way, Microsoft primarily aimed at giving users the ability to “retrace their steps” and find content from the past simply through a prompt, or what Microsoft calls a “photographic memory.”

While the AI feature was seen as a breakthrough in the computing experience, the hype didn’t last long, especially after experts started to question the integrity of the AI feature, claiming that the data stored could easily be accessed by intruders, as Microsoft had failed to bring to integrate adequate encryption measures to secure the data gathered for the feature.

Image Source: Microsoft

However, the firm’s newest blog post has revealed that the company has indeed addressed the issue, based on user feedback, and the changes are interesting, as mentioned below:

  • First, we are updating the set-up experience of Copilot+ PCs to give people a clearer choice to opt-in to saving snapshots using Recall. If you don’t proactively choose to turn it on, it will be off by default.
  • Second, Windows Hello enrollment is required to enable Recall. In addition, proof of presence is also required to view your timeline and search in Recall.
  • Third, we are adding additional layers of data protection including “just in time” decryption protected by Windows Hello Enhanced Sign-in Security (ESS) so Recall snapshots will only be decrypted and accessible when the user authenticates. In addition, we encrypted the search index database.

via Microsoft

The above changes will at least make Windows Recall a less intrusive and worrisome feature in the future. Not only has Microsoft addressed user privacy here, but the firm has also integrated additional security measures. Overall, it’s safe to say that the AI-powered feature is in a much better state than what was initially announced. With its expected debut in the upcoming weeks, Copilot+ certified PCs will surely witness a revamped computing experience courtesy of the AI capabilities onboard.

News Source: Microsoft Blog

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