Technically you can. At least, as long as you are an enterprise customer. One that is running Windows 10 version 1909. But doing so comes with its own set of risks, as tests have suggested.
Telemetry data collection has long been the bane of Microsoft’s modern operating system.
Goes without saying, privacy conscious users are not impressed with how much data the OS gathers and sends behind Redmond walls. Even with the software titan making it clear that this is not personally identifiable information, and is only used to improve the platform.
That said, the company has quietly rolled out a change in Windows 10 version 1909, the latest version of the operating system.
Enterprise customers can stop their devices from phoning home, and sending any data to Microsoft servers, telemetry or not.
This has been revealed in the findings of the Bavarian State Office for Data Protection Supervision, which is an influential data protection authority in Germany. As reported by two German blogs, Microsoft has made a few changes in the latest version of Windows 10.
That is to say, enterprise administrators may be able to completely shut off data collection.
According to the Bavarian DPA:
“As part of this laboratory analysis, it was found that the telemetry data from one Windows 10 computer with the Enterprise version can be completely deactivated.”
And while controls now exist to cut off all telemetry transmissions, the organization does note that doing so could expose the devices to greater security risks.
Calls to Microsoft servers that deliver current cryptographic certifications should not be switched off with this configuration, as these are required to ensure that a Windows 10 system can be operated securely on a daily basis.
Moral of the story?
Telemetry data collection in the Enterprise and Education editions of Windows 10 is no longer a reason to avoid adopting the latest and greatest version of the OS.