Microsoft explains its Android-powered Surface Duo privacy settings

Surface Duo homescreen

After the complaints, Microsoft simplified Windows 10’s data
collection settings and it looks like the Surface Duo will also
ship with similar data diagnostic behaviour.

Surface Duo is a dual-screen Android phone, which the software
giant is pitching as a productivity device, and it will be
available in the United States on September 10 for a starting
price of $1,399 ($1,299 if you buy it from Best Buy).

Surface Duo is a premium product with a custom-engineered hinge
that can rotate two PixelSense screens at 360 degrees.

As you may know, Surface Duo is a true Android phone with all
Google’s services, including the Play Store, Gmail, Maps,
YouTube, Calendar, Google Assistant (default because Cortana
has been discontinued), and
a bunch of other preinstalled Google apps.

Surface Duo privacy search result

Android’s biggest problem is privacy, but Surface Duo is not
just yet another Android phone because Microsoft built some
custom experiences for the device, including simplified privacy
settings to help users keep track of their data collection in a
single place.

Microsoft has clarified that privacy settings for Microsoft and
Google will be offered separately in the Surface Duo’s OS.

As shown in the screenshot above, to change your Microsoft
privacy, you need to open the Settings app and open Microsoft’s
privacy page,

Surface Duo diagnostic data

Like Windows 10, Surface Duo will also collect diagnostic data
from its installed base to identify problems, improve
performance and security. This diagnostic data collection
feature produces anonymized telemetry data that is uploaded to
Microsoft at regular intervals and Microsoft does not create a
profile of you.

Surface Duo privacy settings

Microsoft says it
will also use your Surface Duo’s data to improve the related
products and services, such as the
Your Phone app. Fortunately, the default data collection is
anonymized and it does not include your personal information,
such as the name, email address, or your files.

Surface Duo also offers two levels of diagnostic data:

  • Required diagnostic data.
  • Optional diagnostic data.

The required diagnostic data includes basic information about
your device, including how it’s configured, settings, features
turned on/off, and whether the OS or the apps are performing
properly or not.

The full list of required data includes:

  • Manufacturer, processor type, and memory attributes.
  • Settings and configurations.
  • Networking and peripherals data.
  • Basic error reporting: App installation and apps or
    services health.
  • OS version and installed updates.
  • Apps and drivers.

You can also choose to send optional diagnostic data which
includes more detailed information about your device. This is
optional and it won’t be the default behaviour of your device
unless you change the privacy settings of the Surface Duo.

The full list of optional diagnostic data includes:

  • All the required diagnostic data.
  • App activity: Background apps, running apps, and their
    performance.
  • Browser activity in Microsoft Edge. This includes your
    search history and items.
  • Enhanced error reporting: System or app crash details. This
    may “unintentionally” include your data, such as files you were
    browsing when the crash occurred.
  • Data to troubleshoot the latest performance issue or
    updates.

Even if you select the optional diagnostic data option,
Microsoft says your device and data will be secure and operate
normally.

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