British Regulator to Investigate Microsoft’s AI that Will Continually Screen Capture Your Display

The UK Independent Regulator for Data Protection (ICO) has requested information from Microsoft regarding a new feature in Windows 11, called Recall, designed to take screenshots every few seconds. This feature is set to be included in the forthcoming Copilot Plus PC.

The BBC reports that, notwithstanding Microsoft’s assurances about the security and privacy of this feature, there’s a need for a comprehensive assessment of the potential risks it might pose to personal rights and freedoms. Data privacy advocates have labelled Recall as a potential “privacy nightmare”.

Microsoft, however, maintains that Recall is an optional feature and users can limit the number of screenshots collected. Additionally, access to the collected data requires physical access to the device. Nonetheless, experts worry that continuous screen capturing might fundamentally affect people’s behavior, leading them to avoid visiting private websites and viewing personal information even on their own computers.

Particular concern arises from the fact that Recall won’t censor screenshots that contain sensitive information such as passwords, credit card details, and other personal data. This means that anyone attaining physical access to the computer can extract extensive information about the user as all prior screenshots are saved locally.

Beyond privacy risks, experts fear that Microsoft might eventually amend its policy and utilise the collected data for commercial purposes, like targeted advertising or training other AI systems.

In view of these concerns, ICO plans to conduct an extensive examination of Recall’s user data protection measures and demand additional privacy assurances from Microsoft before the feature is officially released to the general market. The outcomes of the investigation will be made public soon.

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