Q. I keep hearing about smart assistants eavesdropping on your conversations and reporting them back to big tech companies. So I’m nervous about using Cortana on my machine. Just how much privacy control do I have when it comes to Cortana?
A. More than you used to. The recently released Fall Creators Update, aka Windows 10 Version 1709 recently bulked out the Windows Settings app with a new area for managing what Cortana knows about you and your activities.
The new Activity History tab under your Microsoft Account gives you full control over all the data that is used with Windows Timeline including voice, search, browse, and location. The new addition to the Privacy Dashboard gives you granular control over all of this data with options to clear everything or remove all of it or individual items.
Although there are no options on Windows 10 Home or Pro used on a standalone machine to opt out of providing at least a basic level of telemetry to Microsoft, you can opt out of using Cortana. Of course, there are consequences to making that choice according to Microsoft and it will limit Cortana’s ability to provide you with timely suggestions and other information as you use Windows 10. For the sake of this article, we’ll assume you prefer to keep Cortana active.