Investigation launched into Microsoft's new Black Mirror-like tracking Windows AI feature

Microsoft's newly announced AI-powered computer history feature called Windows Recall is officially being investigated by a government regulator.

1 minute & 36 seconds read time

Microsoft recently announced its Copilot+ artificial intelligence-powered tool that will be arriving on a range of new AI-powered laptops, and one the features of the new AI implementation is a Windows 11 feature called Recall.

Investigation launched into Microsoft's new Black Mirror-like tracking Windows AI feature 165651615

The new Windows feature gives the PC a "photographic memory," which enables the user to travel back to a specific time on the PC. Turning on Recall will let a user retrieve their past activities on their PC, but for this feature to work, the user has to opt into Windows, taking a screenshot of their desktop every few minutes.

With these screenshots, or as Microsoft calls them, snapshots, users will be able to access the specific points in time, which Copilot+ will provide additional context on in the form of identifying objects within the screenshot, providing additional information, and more. Essentially, the tool is web browsing history, but for your whole PC. Notably, Microsoft states all of the screenshots the AI takes will be stored locally on the PC and won't be accessed by the company. Furthermore, users are free to delete any of the screenshots.

The new feature has raised serious privacy concerns, especially with the example of a nefarious actor gaining access to a user's PC, and Recall has captured screenshots of that user's banking information, passwords, and other sensitive data. Due to the potential severe impact of this new feature the UK's data watchdog, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has launched an investigation into Microsoft's Recall.

"We expect organisations to be transparent with users about how their data is being used and only process personal data to the extent that it is necessary to achieve a specific purpose," the ICO wrote in a statement published on Wednesday via its website. "Industry must consider data protection from the outset and rigorously assess and mitigate risks to peoples' rights and freedoms before bringing products to market."

"We are making enquiries with Microsoft to understand the safeguards in place to protect user privacy," the ICO statement concluded.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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