It seems that these days privacy seems to be a big deal with a lot of new platforms. Every time I get a new iPhone the first thing I do is ensure my privacy settings are changed in order to ensure that apps are not getting my location info or using my microphone or camera without my permission. It seems that the Windows 8 platform has some sneaky privacy settings that are automatically allowing access to information on your computer which is switched on by default.
In this article we are going to look at how to switch off some of these default privacy settings so that you may work on your computer without having to worry about some app using your webcam or listening to what you say.
How to get into your privacy settings
Windows 8 has now got a charms back on the right hand of the screen which you can access by putting your mouse on the top right or bottom right corner of the screen. You can also access this charm bar by pressing the Windows key + C which stands for charms.
Once open you will see five icons, the one we want to click on is the cog wheel that says Settings. At the very bottom of the right screen, you will see an option entitled “Change PC settings”. This will open up an app called PC Settings.
You will see some options on the left hand of the screen which will offer you some configuration options. One of the options is called Privacy and if you click on Privacy you will see the following options:
General, Location, Webcam, Microphone.
In the General tab you will see that by default you are allowing access to your pictures, your name and account info as well as allowing apps to track your advertising ID.
In this tab, by default you’re allowing your location to be used by the apps which you have installed, here you can turn off the setting or turn off specific apps from accessing this information.
By default you are allowing apps access to your webcam, now some apps such as Skype may need access to your webcam in order to work properly, however apps like Calendar or Mail may not necessarily need access. You can disable access to apps individually or you can just disable access to your webcam completely.
This one is the pretty much the same as the webcam, you can disable access to your computers microphone completely or turn it off for specific apps.
Now whilst these settings may effectively be harmless, if you want to make sure you have your privacy settings locked down it may be worth looking at these settings.