Microsoft AI screenshots everything you do on your computer — and privacy experts are concerned

Microsoft AI screenshots everything you do on your computer — and privacy experts are concerned

Maybe Microsoft Recall should get a recall.

The computer giant’s new artificial intelligence program is causing worry among cyber experts as it takes screenshots of a user’s activity every five seconds.

“This could be a privacy nightmare,” Dr. Kris Shrishak, an AI and privacy adviser, warned the British Broadcasting Company.

“The mere fact that screenshots will be taken during use of the device could have a chilling effect on people.”

Recall is part of the brand’s new, larger AI Co-Pilot interface. Microsoft boasts that it can help users “retrace their steps” in a technically informal manner.

Microsoft recall has experts worried about security concerns. AFP via Getty Images

The program can read key terms and words in screen captures. When users input photos, phrases or links to search within their history, Recall can then scan and match those with relevant screenshots.

“Trying to remember the name of the Korean restaurant your friend Alice mentioned? Just ask Recall and it retrieves both text and visual matches for your search, automatically sorted by how closely the results match your search,” Microsoft wrote of the AI.

“Recall can even take you back to the exact location of the item you saw.”

The screengrabs are stored locally on a person’s device and can’t be exteriorly accessed by outside sources, including the company’s, Microsoft told the BBC in a statement.

Still, data and privacy expert Daniel Tozer evoked a dystopian comparison to the show “Black Mirror.”

“There may well be information on the screen which is proprietary or confidential to the user’s employer; will the business be happy for Microsoft to be recording this?” he told the outlet, adding concerns over how snapping pictures of video chats works.

Experts fear what Recall means for privacy. AP

“Are [the other people on screen] going to be given the choice as to whether to consent to that? User and access controls will be a key issue on which Microsoft will doubtless be focusing,” Tozer added.

Governments around the world are already taking notice.

A spokesperson for the United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office said they already “are making inquiries with Microsoft to understand the safeguards in place to protect user privacy.”

Although the current policy favors lockdown privacy, other experts like Jen Caltrider of Mozilla are concerned that could change in a heartbeat; similar worries exist for Amazon palm-reading payment options.

Additionally, she fears other ways Recall gives easy access to sensitive information.

The new AI Recall feature of Microsoft’s Co-Pilot takes repeated screenshots of user activity. AP

“[This includes] law enforcement court orders, or even from Microsoft if they change their mind about keeping all this content local and not using it for targeted advertising or training their AIs down the line,” Caltrider said.

Sites that don’t black out passwords, now captured by Recall, also pose a user risk, she added.

Meanwhile, it has already been cracked to run on unsupported hardware, according to reports.

Experts advise against divulging sensitive information into Recall from Microsoft’s Co-Pilot. REUTERS

“I wouldn’t want to use a computer running Recall to do anything I wouldn’t do in front of a busload of strangers.”

Still, Microsoft maintains that “you are in control with Recall,” noting that it can be strategically paused.

“You can select which apps and websites you want to exclude, such as banking apps and websites.”

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