Microsoft won’t access private data in Office version scan installed as OS update they say

Microsoft wants everyone to know that it isn’t looking to invade their privacy while looking through their Windows PCs to find out-of-date versions of Office software.

In its KB5021751 update last month, Microsoft included a plan to scan Windows systems to smoke out those Office versions that are no longer supported or nearing the end of support. Those include Office 2007 (which saw support end in 2017) and Office 2010 (in 2020) and the 2013 build (this coming April).

The company stressed that it would run only one time and would not install anything on the user’s Windows system, adding that the file for the update is scanned to ensure it’s not infected by malware and is stored on highly secure servers to prevent unauthorized changes to it.

The update caused some discussion among users, at least enough to convince Microsoft to make another pitch that it is respecting user privacy and won’t access private data despite scanning their systems.

The update collects diagnostic and performance data so that it can determine the use of various versions of Office and how to best support and service them, the software maker wrote in an expanded note this week. The update will silently run once to collect the data and no files are left on the user’s systems once the scan is completed.

“This data is gathered from registry entries and APIs,” it wrote. “The update does not gather licensing details, customer content, or data about non-Microsoft products. Microsoft values, protects, and defends privacy.”


Source: Microsoft won’t access private data in Office version scan • The Register

Of course, just sending data about what version of Office is installed is in fact sending private data about stuff installed on your PC. This is Not OK.

Robin Edgar

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