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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.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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81 comments
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LoudTechie May 23
Quoting: tohurI would trust such a feature if it was opensource.. for instance if a DE on Linux implemented this feature I would use it without batting an eye considering I could just go look at the source code to see what its doing and mostly likely use my OWN ai models to boot.. only way folks gona feel conforble using this from Microsoft is if they opensourced it.. To be frank it should be a LAW features such as this must be opensourced regardless if the OS is or not.

I wouldn't
The data is still stored on the computer and made readily accessible.
A malicious actor on my system(this can just be chrome looking for delicious data) can take it and run with it.
Quoting: Pengling
Quoting: PhiladelphusIt's worth noting that not even Windows users are particularly enthused at the idea, as in this article on PCGamer.
I'll be amazed if many will put their money where their mouth is and walk away. It's only gotten as bad as it is now because they never take action about their complaints.
But the situation is not immutable. Linux's share on Steam has been growing, largely thanks to the Steam Deck--but the Linux share on the desktop in general seems to have been growing significantly faster the last year or two; we're apparently up to about 4%. I think something like this could add a couple of percentage points.
Pengling May 23
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Quoting: Purple Library GuyBut the situation is not immutable. Linux's share on Steam has been growing, largely thanks to the Steam Deck--but the Linux share on the desktop in general seems to have been growing significantly faster the last year or two; we're apparently up to about 4%. I think something like this could add a couple of percentage points.
Oh, don't get me wrong, I reckon you're right. It's just infuriating to always see people saying "I don't like this!" only to then continue to use the offending products, in spite of the existence of alternatives that will suit a huge amount of people just fine and relieve them of that stress. (Life's too short, why would you put yourself through it?)


Last edited by Pengling on 23 May 2024 at 10:28 pm UTC
tohur May 23
Quoting: LoudTechie
Quoting: tohurI would trust such a feature if it was opensource.. for instance if a DE on Linux implemented this feature I would use it without batting an eye considering I could just go look at the source code to see what its doing and mostly likely use my OWN ai models to boot.. only way folks gona feel conforble using this from Microsoft is if they opensourced it.. To be frank it should be a LAW features such as this must be opensourced regardless if the OS is or not.

I wouldn't
The data is still stored on the computer and made readily accessible.
A malicious actor on my system(this can just be chrome looking for delicious data) can take it and run with it.

And thats on you not the DE. but fact is this is Linux if a DE did implement such a feature 1.) you wouldn't be required to use such a feature. 2 .) it would 99% be a opt in not opt out. 3.) it would most likely be encrypted


Last edited by tohur on 23 May 2024 at 10:35 pm UTC
Quoting: Pengling
Quoting: Purple Library GuyBut the situation is not immutable. Linux's share on Steam has been growing, largely thanks to the Steam Deck--but the Linux share on the desktop in general seems to have been growing significantly faster the last year or two; we're apparently up to about 4%. I think something like this could add a couple of percentage points.
Oh, don't get me wrong, I reckon you're right. It's just infuriating to always see people saying "I don't like this!" only to then continue to use the offending products, in spite of the existence of alternatives that will suit a huge amount of people just fine and relieve them of that stress. (Life's too short, why would you put yourself through it?)
It's like becoming a Canadian. That would go against our freedoms.

I might be misremembering something I heard a long time ago...
Cyril May 24
I really hope, this time, a lot of people will wake up. I don't know what else they'll need if that's not sufficient for them. And I just really know, like some of you sadly, if I speak about that to some of my family's members they'll just think I'm paranoid, more than usual I mean...
Some people I know already use Linux, for some with my help, and I speak about it regularly.
I don't know for you, but whenever people switch to Linux because of me I'm pretty happy, but that's just a drop in the ocean...
It's frightening, a nightmare, and it's worse day after day, I'm losing hope for fuck sake.
pilk May 24
Quoting: pleasereadthemanualI might be misremembering something I heard a long time ago...
lmao I never read the whole Canada tweet until today. That's hilarious.
Yeah, stand up against Microsoft... by making it your mission to continue using their products. Either you keep making an invasive, broken operating system and I keep giving you money, or you 180 where I will give you money. Either way, I will continue to give you money. That's the level of stupidity I come to expect from Mr. Sweeney.


Last edited by pilk on 24 May 2024 at 12:34 am UTC
I don't expect much to change though, people will just go along with it begrudgingly. Or they wont even know about it.
redman May 24
Quoting: Liam Dawe
Quoting: phil995511It is prohibited for an employer to spy on its employees in any way. This type of function is therefore formally prohibited in the professional field.
Depends where you are. Lots of companies in lots of countries already keep tabs on what employees are doing and looking at.

I believe that in all South America when your employee gives you a computer all the content of the computer is property of your employee (At least I know that happens in 8 of 11 countries), the first thing in what I thought is this going to be the panacea of the middle manager and number crunching bosses. Almost all the companies uses Windows, if they don't have a contract as partner, is all the people now how to use (Including IT guys), so deploying this in all machine they will now what are you doing all day, or if you are not doing something for the company all the hours they are paying you.

More troublesome is the public offices that you have to give your information, they will also take screenshot of that ? Make me glad that my country on a very controversial situation some public offices start using Linux to not pay the licenses fees of all the machines, so at least some data will not reach them so easily.
LoudTechie May 24
Quoting: tohur
Quoting: LoudTechie
Quoting: tohurI would trust such a feature if it was opensource.. for instance if a DE on Linux implemented this feature I would use it without batting an eye considering I could just go look at the source code to see what its doing and mostly likely use my OWN ai models to boot.. only way folks gona feel conforble using this from Microsoft is if they opensourced it.. To be frank it should be a LAW features such as this must be opensourced regardless if the OS is or not.

I wouldn't
The data is still stored on the computer and made readily accessible.
A malicious actor on my system(this can just be chrome looking for delicious data) can take it and run with it.

And thats on you not the DE. but fact is this is Linux if a DE did implement such a feature 1.) you wouldn't be required to use such a feature. 2 .) it would 99% be a opt in not opt out. 3.) it would most likely be encrypted

Actually I think encryption wouldn't be a feature if it were open source.
Secret management is important in open source security considerations and the secret would in this case be stored on the same place as the data.
The rest of your points are convincing and yes this's certainly on me.
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