The Netherlands Rules Windows 10 Data Collection Illegal

/ 6 years ago

The Netherlands Rules Windows 10 Data Collection Illegal

First, France kicked up a stink about it, and now neighbour Holland is joining in: the Dutch Data Protection Authority rules that Microsoft’s Windows 10 data collection policy violates data protection law. In particular, the authority takes exception to Microsoft gathering data without explicit user consent. Should Microsoft fail to deal with the alleged violations, the Dutch DPA could impose sanctions.

Windows 10 Data Collection – Making Waves in Europe

Back in July last year, French authorities issued Microsoft with a formal notice to cease Windows 10 telemetry collection. Subsequently, in June this year, the same French government lauded Microsoft for reducing its data collection by up to 50%. However, despite revisions – courtesy of the Creators Update – The Netherlands thinks the Redmond company is still acting unethically.

The Netherlands DPA Ruling

In a press release, the Dutch DPA states:

“Microsoft breaches the Dutch data protection law by processing personal data of people that use the Windows 10 operating system on their computers. This is the conclusion of the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) after its investigation of Windows 10 Home and Pro. Microsoft does not clearly inform users about the type of data it uses, and for which purpose. Also, people cannot provide valid consent for the processing of their personal data, because of the approach used by Microsoft. The company does not clearly inform users that it continuously collects personal data about the usage of apps and web surfing behaviour through its web browser Edge, when the default settings are used. Microsoft has indicated that it wants to end all violations. If this is not the case, the Dutch DPA can decide to impose a sanction on Microsoft.”

Microsoft Responds

The Redmond company indicates a willingness to work with the DPA to resolve any legal issues. Indeed, Marisa Rogers, Privacy Officer at Windows and Devices Group, writes:

“I want our customers to know that it is a priority for us that Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro are clearly compliant under Dutch law.

We welcome the opportunity to continue to work with the Dutch DPA on their comments related to Windows 10 Home and Pro, and we will continue to cooperate with the DPA to find appropriate solutions.”

However, Microsoft questions the accuracy of the DPA’s judgement. Rogers adds:

“We have also shared specific concerns with the Dutch DPA about the accuracy of some of its findings and conclusions. A summary of the points in the DPA’s announcement, which we believe do not accurately reflect the data protection compliance of Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro under Dutch law, can be found here.”

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