Telemetry has been around for a while, Windows 7 had it, and I believe even Vista might have had it.
Having said this Microsoft did not previously sell this information to third parties not did it previously include personal information. When I say personal information I mean your age gender, approximate location, and online habits. Legally they can not give your name, address, and other details that would allow someone to pin point you in real life. So instead they are selling as much as they can about you without actually telling them who you really are. Mind you Micrrosoft is not the only company that uses telemetry data, recently Nvidia got caught with their hand in the cookie jar as well. Scary, right?
Fret not where there is a will there is a way. If like me you spend a lot of time connected to the online world there should be a few applications that you need to explore.
For Windows 10 there are a couple of Telemetry applications that you can install that will kill the services and registry entries that allow Windows to send your data to big brother.
O&O Software has an Antispy-Tool for Windows 10. This is a free download. It’s called O&O ShutUp10. With this tool you can pick and choose in great detail what you want to block and what you want to allow.
The folks over at Safer Networking that brought us Spybot Search and Destroy have also built a similar tool. They call their Telemetry removal tool Spybot Anti-Beacon, the link can be found on their download page. This has a portable version so you can run it off a flash drive if you need to.
The first time you run this it will show you what you have blocked and what is still tracking you. If you click the “Show Options” button it will show you the registry keys that will be changed. Click Immunize and restart your computer.
Besides these tools, I have also edited my hosts file and added a bunch of domain names that direct to 0.0.0.0, essentially to nowhere. Spybot also adds a couple hosts entries into the file.
*Note not all of the above addresses belong to Microsoft. Most of those URLs preform some sort of tracking so probably a good idea to block them anyways.
Recently it has been discovered that Nvidia included Telemetry in their driver software. Some believe it is only part of the GForce experience, but that is not the case, it is installed along side the driver.
In order to disable the Telemetry bundled with the Nvidia driver you need to download Autoruns from Sysinternals. Extract the package and run the executable as Administrator. Make sure the everything tab is selected and filter content with the keyword: nvidia. Then proceed to uncheck the following items and then just close the application, followed by a reboot.
Now Nvidia might not be tracking anything, but that is not the point. Also you will need to do this every time you reinstall the driver.
To hide yourself online, obviously the best technology is a VPN or a proxy server. However these can cost quite a bit of money.
My suggestion is use two of the better online extensions. Electronic Frontier Foundations Privacy badger and uBlockOrigin.
Privacy Badger can be installed right from the eff.org web page. To install uBlickOrigin go to your web browsers extension store to find plugin and install it. For Vivaldi go to the chrome store as it is based on Chromium and all chrome extensions are compatible with it.
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