Microsoft has long been accused of using Windows 11 — and, for that matter, earlier versions of the operating system — to spy on users by gathering telemetry. Accusations of invading privacy could also be levelled at many apps too, and Microsoft is introducing a new feature that places users in control.
Having apps secretly spying on users, or making use of cameras and microphones, is something that tends to be thought of in relation to mobile apps, but it can also be a problem on the desktop. With this in mind, Microsoft is testing a new Privacy Auditing feature that will make it possible to see which apps have been accessing such devices.
Referred to collectively as Privacy Auditing, the feature not only lets you see which app have access to “sensitive devices” such as your microphone, but also reveals which have actually accessed them and when.
But this is about more than just your microphone. Just as Android and iOS have comprehensive permission settings that make it possible to control precisely what tools, features and data apps are able to access, Privacy Auditing does much the same for Windows 11 users.
News of the upcoming set of features was shared on Twitter by Microsoft’s David Weston:
New Windows 11 Privacy Auditing features allow you to see history of sensitive device access like the Microphone pic.twitter.com/vq3IJkAIMO
— David Weston (DWIZZZLE) (@dwizzzleMSFT) June 16, 2022
As you can see in the screenshot, the feature is part of the Privacy & security section of the Settings app. In addition to providing information about microphone access, it also lets you see which apps have access to or have accessed your screenshots, messages, location data and more.
The feature is currently undergoing testing, and if you would like to try it out for yourself, you just need to install the latest Insider Preview of Windows 11 from the Dev Channel.
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