Recall: the controversial Copilot+ option gagged by Microsoft

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During the presentation of Windows and the Copilot+ update, Microsoft introduced the Recall option, an application that allows you to find actions carried out on your PC. You can no longer find the recipe for this excellent pizza that you found on the internet, ask Recall and the application will find the forgotten one, and will even suggest actions on the capture containing said recipe.

Recall allows you to find forgotten memories in a screenshot history.

Recall allows you to find forgotten memories in a screenshot history.

©Microsoft

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Security breaches

However, to achieve this result, Recall must take a photo of your workspace every five seconds and store its captures. Besides the privacy issue, Microsoft seems to have forgotten some simple security principles. Thus several researchers discovered that the captures were stored in a folder accessible to anyone and that the index was not encrypted.

Microsoft therefore presented some corrections before the official release of the Copilot+ update which will initially only be compatible with laptops equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon X processor.

Recall will not be enabled by default

Initially, Microsoft had indicated that Recall would be activated by default and that its deactivation would be the responsibility of the user, this is no longer the case. During the installation process when starting a PC (OOBE), Windows will clearly ask you to authorize (or not) Windows to take screenshots of your workspace. If you refuse, the Recall option will be deactivated.

Settings page in Windows 11 OOBE.

Settings page in Windows 11 OOBE.

©Microsoft

Windows Hello activation required

The other measure put in place by Microsoft is to allow access to Recall only if the user has activated Windows Hello. As a reminder, Windows Hello is the connection manager integrated into Windows 11 which allows you to access your session by facial recognition if your PC is equipped with a compatible webcam, by fingerprint if you have a fingerprint reader or lastly recourse, with a pin code. Thus, without authentication it will be impossible to access Recall and therefore your “memories”.

Access to Recall will be conditional on authentication with Windows Hello.

Access to Recall will be conditional on authentication with Windows Hello.

©Microsoft

Finally, third measure put in place: encryption of the index to which is added access control to screenshots. In fact, it will be more difficult for a possible attacker to access your data after having stolen your captures or your index.

Microsoft thus seems to have listened to the feedback from security researchers and the Windows community about Recall. The fact remains that the option will constitute an enormous history of all the user's actions on their PC, over several months, depending on the space allocated to the storage of captures raising major questions about life. private. Copilot+ PCs will be available from June 18 with Recall if nothing changes by then.

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