Microsoft to change Windows 10 after warnings it could ‘out’ gay teens

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Microsoft is making changes to Windows 10’s family settings – after PinkNews warned it could ‘out’ children to their parents.

PinkNews last month raised concern about Windows 10’s ‘activity reports’ feature, which is enabled by default for users who have set up registered family accounts – sending weekly breakdowns of children’s browsing history to their parents.

Testing the feature using a mock family, PinkNews found that a child’s gay-related search history and visits to LGBT support sites were flagged in emails sent to parents, alongside detailed information about gay pornography the teen had attempted to view.

The teen was not informed that this information had been sent to their parents.

In a blog post, Microsoft exec Terry Myerson responded directly to concerns, and pledged to amend the feature to respect people’s privacy.

He wrote: “Listening to your feedback has been the foundation of Windows 10, and feedback on privacy is no exception.
Microsoft to change Windows 10 after warnings it could ‘out’ gay teens
“As an example of direct response to feedback we’ve received, all Windows 10 customers will receive an upcoming update to family features, with default settings designed to be more appropriate for teenagers, compared to younger children.

“Additionally, we’re working on ways to further enhance the notifications that kids and parents get about activity reporting in Windows.”

He added:  “If you ever find a situation where our software is not behaving the way it should with your privacy settings, please let us know here.

“Like security, we are committed to following up on all reported issues, continuously probe our software with leading edge techniques, and proactively update supported devices with necessary updates.
Microsoft to change Windows 10 after warnings it could ‘out’ gay teens

“We really appreciate the rich dialogue in making Windows 10 better for all of us. We will continue to listen and respond, to earn your trust.”