The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) just recently went into effect and a number of major companies have made major changes to their privacy policies to make them more transparent for the end users. A number of companies, including Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, are allowing users to see all the data that has been collected over the years and delete it from their servers if they want to.
Microsoft’s services are used by a significant chunk of the global population and the company has collected vast quantities of data from each of its services. However, you can now easily see all the data that the company has collected through Microsoft’s privacy dashboard and delete whatever you might not want to share anymore. Here’s a quick run down of all the data collected by Microsoft and how you can delete it:
If you’ve turned on browsing history in Cortana, all of your Microsoft Edge browsing history is sent to the company to help it improve its products and services. You can view all your browsing history stored by Microsoft by following this link, and delete whatever you wish to remove. It’s worth noting that if you’ve used private sessions to browse the internet, Microsoft doesn’t collect any of your browsing data.
Microsoft stores all Bing search history in order to provide better results when you search next time. This includes personalizations and suggestions, as well as auto-complete. If you don’t want Microsoft to have access to this data, you can view and clear your search history by following this link.
If you’ve been using a Windows device with location sharing turned on, Microsoft also collects relevant data about your location to provide better directions and information about your surroundings. You can view your location activity by following this link and in case you don’t want Microsoft to have access to that data you can also delete it from within the same webpage.
In order to enhance its speech recognition and other personalized speech experiences, Microsoft stores audio recordings of your interactions with Cortana or any other cloud-based, voice-enabled products the company offers. You can view and delete all the recordings stored by the company by following this link.
The company also collects data for a variety of other services, including media activity, product and service activity, product and service performance, health activity, and Cortana’s notebook. You can view all the data the company has stored by logging in to your Microsoft Privacy dashboard and delete whatever you may feel uncomfortable sharing with the company.