When Microsoft released Windows 10 on July 29, the new operating system was already mired in controversy due to the way it monitors users' activities and reports back to Microsoft. Many news sites including The New American wrote about the spyware features of Windows 10. Some considered that reporting to be little more than fanciful conspiracy theories and exaggerations.
With recent admissions from the Redmond, Washington, software giant, however, it is now clear that those reports were accurate and that Windows 10 — as an operating system — is spyware.
From the outset, Microsoft decided on the previously unheard of move of making the new operating system available free of charge in a rolling update to all current users of Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 via Windows update. Many wondered why the company would give away licenses to use the new operating system. As The New American reported at the time:
It appears that the reason is simple: greater data-mining opportunities. Windows operating systems have long included security weaknesses that leave users vulnerable to spying and data-mining from others. What is different with the newest iteration of Windows is that Microsoft is directly involved in that spying and data-mining and has built the entire operating system in such a way as to allow it.
The Microsoft Services Agreement and its accompanying documents, to which one must agree before installing or using any Microsoft product or service, run roughly 40,000 words and would take 110 pages to print. Agreeing to these documents grants Microsoft the right to read, save, and share anything stored on or accessed using any computer running Microsoft Windows, as well as any computer using any Microsoft products or services.
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.
Privacy advocates pointed out the ludicrous danger of having an operating system that is itself spyware. Microsoft apologists attempted to brush those concerns aside, saying the dangers were being blown out of proportion. After all, they said, turning these "features" off is a simple matter of changing the privacy settings.