During a recent trip, I did something I do not do often. I left my computer behind. I was driving to the mountains and the intent was to return the same day. But the trip got prolonged. I needed to get online, and I decided to grab a cheap PC in a local supermarket. I got one with Windows 10 S as I wanted to try out this Microsoft OS.
That was the start of an ugly story.
The install of Windows 10 S is pretty similar to installing Windows in general. You have to go out of your way to avoid using the Microsoft online install. You have to unclick a lot of settings which otherwise allow Microsoft to gather information about your use of the computer. So far, things were generally unpleasant, given that I strongly believe no company should have the right to collect my or your data in the way Microsoft and others are doing.
As you may know, Windows 10 S is an operating system that is limited by not allowing users to install software that competes with Microsoft’s own, by use of the Microsoft store. You can unlock Windows 10 S. To do that, however, you need to login into Microsoft.
Now, there is absolutely no logical reason for this, but I was forced to do that to use the computer, helping Microsoft identify me. But to my dismay, something even worse happened.
During the process, Microsoft decided to merge my Skype and Microsoft accounts. This is something that I think is uncalled for. I use my Skype account a fair bit and I use it from different computers. By merging these two accounts, two very different use cases are linked.
In my opinion, this is a security risk – the login to your computer, the login to your phone service and the login to your email should not be the same. Now you may say that this is just the kind of thing that Google would do, and you would be right, but in no way makes it any better. There is no reason for Microsoft to insist that I use the same login for my multiple, unrelated accounts.
The creation of super profiles, where a lot of information about us is gathered, is something that should be banned. Combining accounts into one, without options, is both unethical and I think it should be considered illegal as well.
The only logical reason for Microsoft to combine the Skype account with the Microsoft account is to be able to gather more data. Obviously, they will hide behind convenience and although that may be true in some cases, in this case the combination of the accounts is creating a security risk – given that it is likely that you will want to use your Skype account on devices that might not even be yours. Would you want to do that with account details that may open your computer and your email and various other services?
Shame on you Microsoft!