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This will be preaching to the choir for some readers, as you didn't exactly need another reason not to use Windows right? Microsoft's new Recall AI will take screenshots of everything you do and that sounds truly terrible. Spyware as a service, courtesy of Microsoft's push to stick AI into everything.

You might think I'm being perhaps a bit sensational here or even clickbaity, but no, this is actually genuinely what Recall does. As Microsoft said: "Recall uses Copilot+ PC advanced processing capabilities to take images of your active screen every few seconds", and not only just on their new ARM PCs, they said it will roll out to x86 platforms too via a Windows update.

What's the point? It's to give you a special timeline of your day (it stores up to 3 months worth of what you do), allowing you to go back through it and find things, highlight things, open the original application shown in pictures and eventually open up whatever you were working on in the right application with the right content at the time. Basically, some fancy-pants AI search going over everything you've done.

Microsoft do say the storage is local to your device, and is "protected using data encryption on your device" and even using BitLocker if you're on Windows 11 Pro or an enterprise Windows 11 SKU. Microsoft also claim it doesn't share it anywhere else, at all, no advertisers or Microsoft themselves. But, how far do we trust data being fed into a black-box AI that no one can really see what it's doing huh?

Here's the thing: straight from their own FAQ (scroll down) it notes how "Recall does not perform content moderation" and it will "not hide information such as passwords or financial account numbers". Oh wow, that sure sounds good for your privacy doesn't it. But don't worry it "does not take snapshots of certain kinds of content, including InPrivate web browsing sessions in Microsoft Edge" and "material protected with digital rights management (DRM)" is also protected. We can't have Netflix or Disney getting annoyed with it taking a shot of that movie you watched, nope.

I'm not even what you may call a "privacy nut". I use big-name stuff all the time, my main browser is plain ol' Google Chrome and you get the idea. But still, this is super weird.

What happens if someone else gets access to your device? Lost, stolen, sold (and you forgot to wipe) and so on. If you get hacked, they'll end up seeing everything, it's another major attack point. Yeah great it's stored on your device, but people and companies get broken open all the time, malicious orgs will have a real party with your data. There's plenty of other times people may end up with access to your device to think about, I'm not going to list them all of course.

You can hear Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speak about it to The Wall Street Journal, skip to 3:23:

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No thanks. I'll pass, forever. I never want this. It feels creepy and gross.

The UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is already looking into it. No doubt others will be too. A privacy nightmare for everyone.

If you wish to try Linux, I can recommend Kubuntu which is my daily-driver.

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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
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Big fat NOPE from me thanks. If I'm ever forced by the universe's cruel twists of fate to use Windows 11, 'Recall' will be the first thing I disable.
pb May 23
It'll probably be forbidden in the EU anyway.
Kandarihu May 23
I'm sure every authoritarian government on Earth will be demanding access to these screenshots. And Microsoft will probably agree to make it so that Recall will be sending those governments that data. As long as Microsoft doesn't explicitly profit from that, they can still be honest to say that they aren't selling it.
shnull May 23
Quoting: KandarihuI'm sure every authoritarian government on Earth will be demanding access to these screenshots. And Microsoft will probably agree to make it so that Recall will be sending those governments that data. As long as Microsoft doesn't explicitly profit from that, they can still be honest to say that they aren't selling it.

mmhh ...

you gotta be raving mad to actually want this , im without usa-dos for months now and i havent missed it once

im almost glad it bricked my firmware, only sad the only software to unbrick it seems to run on windows lol
based May 23
Quoting: gradyvuckovicBig fat NOPE from me thanks. If I'm ever forced by the universe's cruel twists of fate to use Windows 11, 'Recall' will be the first thing I disable.

I assume you mean "disable" and not actually disable, otherwise you'll be at a constant battle with the OS
Szkodnix May 23
The Year of Linux is near. I can feel it...
Highball May 23
This is just going to be Shazam for your Computer. Same way Google parses your emails to determine what ads to show you. The same way your SmartTV Shazam's what your viewing and sells the data off to advertisers. Sure, MSFT might say they don't sell the data off for now. The "suggested" ads in the start menu could quickly become a suggested ad from a bunch of possible ads where Recall suggests an ad based on what it has learned about you. Every thing would be local. Right now they are just preparing users for the idea of this happening. It makes sense that MSFT would want to do this. How many countries does MSFT encourage piracy of Windows because it is better for MSFT to have someone steal Windows than to find a cheaper alternative? Seems like the advertisements could become a source of revenue for MSFT where previously there was none.

Also, could you imagine uploading all the images to MSFT and running the AI processing on the images to learn what ads to send the user? Would be really expensive. Much cheaper to just download a massive block of potential ads to their computer and let the AI locally process the images and learn what ads to suggest.

lol @msft. "You might want to go back in time to see what you were doing, this is totally a feature that people would want." hahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahhahaha hahahahahaha

Last edited by Highball on 23 May 2024 at 10:41 am UTC
artixbtw May 23
AI hype train. AI hype train. Even if I am to be considered a visitor from stone age in a few years time for not using AI (though open source, locally running AI is surprisingly promising), how about no?

The more people realise it's possible to do without this kind of crap, the better.

And I am not necessarily saying all forms of AI should be rejected, but this type of always-running tech that stores/shares way more private data than it needs to definitely checks the box.

Last edited by artixbtw on 23 May 2024 at 10:44 am UTC
vox May 23
Hey, wouldn't you want to upgrade your monkey vision with the state-of-the-art 30fps next-gen FullHD uberOLED pancake lensed cordless box of warm and fuzzy gaming joy? Step right up! We will screenshot your monitor forever, get your location, bio, medical and personal info in a secure place in a very professional manner. Get your NFT collection in order with microsoft's own copilot++ enabled and bing enhanced search on the blockchain technology in VR AR VRR 3D-accelerated app.

To hell with them. It seems that Big Tech is in some kind of degradation spiral, they sprint and stumble and crash into each other trying to deliver the most useless and invasive feature, but with all of the buzzwords of today.


Liam, sorry for off-topic and kind of a personal question, but for the year or so you switched multiple distros as far as I can see. You tried fedora and endeavourOS if I remember correctly. I switched to endeavourOs partly because of you and the discussions here. Do you intend to share your experiences and thoughts on the state of the distros today and what was those things that kept you moving? Thanks!

Last edited by vox on 23 May 2024 at 10:51 am UTC
dvd May 23
I guess they will make bank of Gigacorps paying for it being disabled. I can already imagine the IT department and the management freaking out about this.

Last edited by dvd on 23 May 2024 at 10:53 am UTC
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