For modern software and hardware, privacy remains one of the biggest challenges. Specifically, how to balance the privacy needs of customers with functional devices that often tap into multiple services. It is a universal problem all Big Tech providers face, whether on Android, iOS, Windows, or any other platform.
Microsoft says it is now working on a new auditing tool that gives users information when apps use hardware that may hold sensitive information. Known as Privacy Auditing, the feature will be available in Windows 11.
According to Microsoft, Privacy Warning will give Windows 11 users the ability to see which applications have been accessing hardware such as the camera and microphone. The feature is a suite of tools that tell the user when apps are potentially accessing devices that are “sensitive”. Furthermore, alerts are sent when apps access the hardware.
There are hints that Privacy Auditing will go beyond these abilities and also bring permissions control to Windows. Mobile platforms like Android and iOS have extensive settings for permissions, allowing users to control what data, features, and options installed apps can see. For some reason, Windows 11 does not have the same level of control.
A tweet from David Weston, Microsoft's VP for OS Security and Enterprise, showed the Privacy Auditing feature, with the tool located in the Privacy & security part of the Windows Settings application. As you can see, the tool will provide users with a way to see screenshots of app access, location data, messages, and more.
Privacy Auditing remains in development but is available in preview on the Dev Channel (Preview Build 25140). You can use it through the latest Windows preview build ahead of a wider Stable Release channel update in the future.
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