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New Windows 7/8/8.1 updates KB3075249 and KB3080149 spy on you just like Windows 10
Microsoft is pushing KB3075249 and KB3080149 updates for Windows 7/8/8.1 users which can spy on you.
It is now a known fact that Windows 10 user data is being reported back to Microsoft servers back in Redmond. The jury is still out whether this a good or bad practice but many of Windows 10 Apps like Cortana depend on getting your preferences correct to serve you better. This being the case, many Windows users who are not happy with Windows 10 spying ways and have preferred to stay on with Windows 7/Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 as the case might be. For these Windows 7/8/8.1 users there are a few updates which Microsoft has been pushing through last few days. Namely, KB3075249 and KB3080149, if installed are known to report your data back to Microsoft servers.
KB3075249 update adds telemetry points to consent.exe in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7. The Microsoft support pages give the following descriptions for them:
KB3075249 - "Update that adds telemetry points to consent.exe in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7."
KB3080149 - "This update aligns down-level devices on the same UTC binary that's released in Windows 10. This update would enable all the down-level devices to receive the software updates, design updates, and additional power and performance tuning."
In simple words, both these updates, if downloaded and installed will snoop on you and report back certain data to the Microsoft servers. Once you have updated your Windows 7/8/8.1 with these updates, your PC is no better than Windows 10 as it will report back your user data.
There is little news about these updates but tech forums are already abuzz about their spying ways. Some users on forums have reported additional updates from Microsoft which are to be avoided :
KB2670838 – Windows 7 Only (breaks AERO functionality and gives you blurry fonts on some websites)
KB2976978 – Windows 8 only
If you are a privacy lover or don't want your data to be sent to unwanted entities, avoid the above updates. All these updates are optional and wont harm your PC if you don't install them. To stop your Windows 7/8/8.1 PC from downloading these updates, go to Windows Update (Control Panel > System and Security), mark the check boxes beside these updates and hide them. Do remember, these updates may reappear after a reboot.
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