Směrť Špionam! BAN Windows 10, it SPIES too much, exclaim Russians

Nyet to Redmondian probe tentacles up our ass

Russian lawyers have filed a complaint calling for an outright ban – or at least tight restrictions – over the sale of Windows 10 in Russia.

The complaint to the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office argues that Windows 10 collects user information in a way that violates Russian laws. Moscow-based Bubnov and Partners contended that the collection of passwords, location data, typed texts and browsing history and the uploading of the information to Microsoft’s cloud violate Russian privacy legislation.

A Communist Party deputy in the Russian Duma (parliament), Vadim Solovyov, also called for the Prosecutor General’s Office to review Microsoft’s technology, over concerns that Windows 10 is spying on its users.

However a local IT trade group, the Russian Association for Electronic Communications, defended Microsoft’s technology. It pointed out that Windows 10 has flexible settings and argued that it doesn’t violate local privacy laws. The association has put out an advisory explaining how users can change default settings to improve privacy.

Microsoft told the Moscow Times that the Russian privacy law violation allegations were baseless. “The new operating system offers users the choice of how they want it to handle their data and users can change the settings at any point,” it said.

The Windows 10 default settings have provoked a privacy outcry across the world, as El Reg has repeatedly reported.

Windows 10 is far from the only thing that ought to concern privacy-conscious Russians, however.

Russian intel agency the FSB operates a net surveillance scheme called SORM that provides full-spectrum metadata collection of internet surfing habits, emails, social media exchanges and more. The scheme, which attracted coverage in the West in the context of last year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, is getting an upgrade this year (according to Russian language reports, translated here.) ®

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