When Windows 10 launched, I cautiously waited to see what others thought before trying it out for myself. I've been through enough Windows OS launches to know well the risks of installing a brand new product. When word came out that Windows 10 was chalk full of telemetry / privacy violations I felt confident that Windows 7 would continue to be my OS of choice for the foreseeable future. That is, until I began reading articles like this one:
I don't have any problems with running a couple of commands (scripting them even) to disable services, task scheduler libraries, etc... But where I draw the line is having to now pre-select / filter my Windows Updates.
If the reports are to be trusted, there are now a number of Windows Updates that enable and reactivate telemetry services on Windows 7 and 8. I find this behavior fundamentally unconscionable - I trusted MS to deliver security patches in an effort to make my machines secure from external threats. By introducing data collection services into my automatic delivery of security updates across my environment, I am now forced to deploy a WSUS server (with an AD for GP control) so that I can have the privilege of going through an approval process on every update MS delivers.
I am a busy person - I am involved in advancing my education, career, and family. I simply don't have the time or energy to police MS from delivering 'security updates' that violate the privacy of myself and my family at home.
So where was I when I lost confidence in Windows 7? I was sitting at my desk listening in on a work conference call while getting caught up on interesting Hubski technology articles.
I didn't lost confidence in Windows 7 nor Windows 10. What I lost was only the last completely irrational hope that commercial systems could ever be as open and private with the end-user as non-commercial.
Microsoft (among other corporations in this field) is a major player. Their products are as the vision of Microsoft is - useful, productive, synced, always available (and profitable). They just aren't made for privacy. Because privacy (or software builded with privacy in mind) isn't profitable - it requires some fundamental code change. Yes, that's absolutely something that Microsoft should do, but the financial-headed interest won't make this happen.
Honestly, how many of non-business Windows users had bought Windows (and/or Office) out of privacy? I really hardly doubt that anyone. Many, if not all, bought Windows, because it's known. Because our favorite apps are running only on Windows. Because I have all the files and mails synced and available wherever I am in the world. Because it cares about all the things, so I don't need to. Because I've seen a friend, a helper - something that will make my life easier. And not out of privacy.
We just clicked "I agree to the EULA, ToS and PP", rarely to read any paragraph and thinking about consequences of the legal stuff we accepted. And if now the time has come (out of whatever reason) - we can always leave those Terms and Policies behind - the problem is that maybe we just won't get that what we got in Windows. Maybe we don't have the time, the interest, the power, the concentration to afford a change in our daily life habits. It's just easier the say "Meh. I don't like it. Honestly it's against what I'm standing for - but.. I like the comfort". And that's OK - as long as we don't present it as an issue. It's not a legitimate reason to feel offended by something that actually is written in those law papers we accepted by using the "issue".
I'm not saying that Microsoft behavior is good for freedom or privacy - it absolutely isn't. But it's up to us how we'll react to that.
And Linux is always a possibility.