Microsoft is conducting trials of fresh privacy controls for Windows 11 in Europe

Windows 11’s 23H2 update now requires users in the European Economic Area (EEA) to explicitly give their consent before data can be shared between Windows and other Microsoft services they are logged into. This change may impact certain file recommendations in the “Recommended” section of the Start menu. Although this new data consent feature is included in the Windows 11 23H2 preview build, it is not fully functional yet. Windows 11 is constantly evolving with various tiered builds and previews. While it is important to check the Windows Insider blog posts for updates, some users may overlook them.

A significant change was introduced in Windows 11 Build 23521 in August 2023, requiring users to provide consent before sharing their data. Specifically, within the European Economic Area (EEA), explicit consent is now necessary for data sharing between Windows and other Microsoft services that a user is signed into. As a result, certain features, such as specific file recommendations in the “Recommended” section of the Start menu, may be unavailable if consent is not given. Microsoft mentioned in a blog post published in August 2023, “Without consent to share data between Windows and other signed-in Microsoft services, some functionality in Windows features may be unavailable, for example certain types of file recommendations under ‘Recommended’ on the Start menu.”

Start menu recommended items

Microsoft is currently testing the new privacy consent integration in the Windows 11 23H2 preview build, but it is not functioning properly yet. While our readers may have their own opinions, we believe this change is beneficial. Who wouldn’t appreciate more control in the hands of the users? However, it is important to note that this feature will only be available to users within the European Union (EU). The EU has always prioritized privacy and sustainability for its citizens. Nevertheless, the rest of the world remains under the influence of large corporations that hoard user data. Although this change was initially introduced in preview in August, it will gradually become visible to more users in the coming months. As the public release of Windows 11 23H2 approaches, this change will likely be implemented for all users through a future update later this year. We attempted to test the feature from our end, but unfortunately, it has not yet appeared. It could still be a work in progress or part of Microsoft’s A/B testing. When we inquired about this with Microsoft, we received a generic response stating, “We have nothing more to share beyond what’s in the blog post. This change was previously rolled out to the Dev Channel in August.”

Features that may be affected by Windows 11 privacy consent

Although we do not have precise details on what Microsoft refers to as “features,” we can make an educated guess. Firstly, Microsoft Copilot, the latest AI-powered assistant for Windows 11, has been made available to the general public outside of Europe. It heavily relies on Bing and its advanced AI capabilities, and it will be rolled out to all users in the upcoming weeks. Given the concerns surrounding privacy, Microsoft will ensure that users provide their consent before sharing their data. Additionally, some of Windows 11’s core apps may undergo revisions alongside Copilot. While we do not have further information to share at this time, we will diligently monitor any new developments and update this article accordingly.

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