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Illegal torrent download sites ban Windows 10 over privacy worries

Published Aug 24th, 2015 3:25PM EDT
Windows 10 Ban Torrent Downloads Privacy

Microsoft has a mini PR mess on its hands when it comes to Windows 10’s default privacy settings. Microsoft can and will collect all kinds of data from your Windows 10 computer, much of it without your explicit knowledge. However, the company is not quietly covering up these data collection features and is instead explaining to users why they’re in place while offering them measures to disable some of the spy tools. Recent reports have also uncovered a troubling provision in Microsoft’s terms of service that suggests the company may forcefully remove and/or prevent users from enjoying copyrighted content that has been downloaded illegally on machines running Windows 10 and counterfeit hardware.

Torrent sites that provide access to illegal digital content, including movies, TV shows, music, and games, are already worried about that particular revelation and at least three of them looking at banning users that have updated to Windows 10.

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As Torrent Freak found out, torrent sites including iTS, BB and FSC are both telling their customers they can’t use Windows 10 to download content.

The worry here is that Windows 10 can collect data from a user’s peer-to-peer download and then share that information with MarkMonitor, a company that Microsoft partnered with in the past and which is involved in the U.S. Copyright Alert System.

“Amongst other things Windows 10 sends the contents of your local disks directly to one of their servers,” iTS staffers said. “Obviously this goes way too far and is a serious threat to sites like ours which is why we had to take measures.”

“We have also found [Windows 10] will be gathering information on users’ P2P use to be shared with anti-piracy group,” BB staff told users.

“As we all know, Microsoft recently released Windows 10. You as a member should know, that we as a site are thinking about banning the OS from FSC. That would mean you cannot use the site with the OS installed,” FSC staff wrote.

While it’s understandable why these sites would choose to keep Microsoft’s data collection powers at bay, a scenario where Microsoft would help others take action against copyright infringers seems rather dystopian at this point.

However, if you want to take action against Microsoft’s privacy-infringing settings you can follow these guides (here, here and here). Also, in case you wish to roll back to Windows 8.1 from Windows 10 – that’s actually something you can do – read the instructions here.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.