The chief scientist at Microsoft Research has no problem calling the Windows • Registry

When asked to explore data privacy issues arising from Microsoft Recall, a self-monitoring tool that was not received by the Windows maker, Jaime Teevan, chief scientist and technical fellow at Microsoft Research, brushed off the concerns.

Tevan was speaking on Wednesday with Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Digital Economy Lab at Stanford University, at the fifth anniversary conference of the American University’s Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence Institute.

Brynjolfsson said when Recall was announced, there was “a kind of backlash against all the privacy challenges surrounding that. So, talk about the pros and cons of using all that data and some of the risks it creates as well as some of the opportunities.”

Clearly this was a popular topic.

Of course we are rethinking what data means, how we use it, how we evaluate it, and how it is used

“Yes, and that’s a great question, Eric,” Tevan said. “This has been brought up all morning as well – the importance of data. And the AI ​​revolution that we’re seeing now is really changing the way we understand data.”

She continued: “Microsoft generally helps large organizations manage their data, create data, and share data, and that data is really something that makes business work different in the context of generative AI.

“As individuals too, we have important data, data that we interact with all the time, and there is an opportunity to start thinking about how we do that and start thinking about what it means to be able to capture that and use it. But of course we are rethinking what data means and how we use it, how we evaluate it.” And how it is used.

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Record I noted when Recall was introduced at Microsoft Build last month that the software — which creates an archive of screenshots taken every few seconds and records user activities, so previous actions can be remembered — poses a significant privacy risk. As recently described Created by author Charlie Strouse, it’s “the product no one wants” and “a bullshit display of absolute privacy.”

Undaunted by Tevan’s unwillingness to admit why Recall was causing tension, Brynjolfsson investigated further.

“Is it stored locally?” Asked. “So let’s say I activate Recall, and I don’t know if I could, but when you have something like that, I’d be worried about all my personal files going to the cloud, or Microsoft, or something. Do you have that? Stay local?”

Tevan responded, “Yes, yes, that’s the main thing that we care about a lot as a company is actually data protection. So Recall is a feature that captures information. It’s a local Windows function, nothing goes to the cloud, everything is stored locally.”

And it was as if constantly logging a person’s computing activities in a series of screenshots and activity logs had no security or privacy implications if the data was local and protected by Microsoft account credentials — not much reassurance in light of the release of security researcher Alex Hagenah’s tool Total recall. This code can extract and display data from Recall’s unencrypted SQLite database, where the operating system “feature” stores snapshots of user activity.

Meanwhile, researchers and security analysts continue to call for the recall, scheduled to be issued later this month, to be forgotten.

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As Stross argues, subpoena-equipped Windows computers will be targeted by lawyers during discovery proceedings because they will provide access not only to emails but to conversations in any messaging or collaboration application, and potentially spoken conversations if speech-transfer data is captured. To text by Redmond’s activity recorder. It’s also easy for a hacker to snoop on what their victim has been doing recently, personally and at work.

“It’s absurd for any organization that handles medical records or has a legal duty of confidentiality; indeed, for any company that has to comply with GDPR (how does Recall handle the right to be forgotten? In short: poorly), or HIPAA.” In the United States,” he wrote in his post.

“This flaw flies in the face of privacy law across the EU (and in the UK), and in healthcare organizations everywhere that have a medical right to privacy.”

Referring to Recall’s ability to avoid catching DRM content, the sci-fi writer continued: “The only people whose privacy isn’t violated are Hollywood studios and Netflix, which tells you something about the state of things.” ®

Also at Stanford University: To solve the AI ​​energy crisis, “the entire spectrum from electrons to algorithms must be rethought,” says the physics professor.

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