Microsoft's New Copilot+ PCs Know What You’ve Been Up to

Copilot+ PCs, PC, Microsoft, Copilot, AI,

Microsoft announced its new Copilot+ PCs that keep a log of snapshots that detail users’ activity, like app usage and visited websites.

  • These devices feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite chips.
  • Data is encrypted and stored locally, with options to pause, delete, or exclude specific activities from being recorded.

Microsoft announced its new Copilot+ PCs, which will remember what you’ve been up to through a new AI-powered feature, Windows Recall.

At a special event before their annual Build Conference, Microsoft introduced Copilot+ PCs. Those devices are designed to run many generative AI processes locally. Equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite chips, they have powerful specifications, like a neural processing unit (NPU) performance of at least 40 ToPs (trillions of operations per second) and a minimum of 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

And it won’t be just Microsoft Surface offering the AI-powered Windows 11.

In fact, the operating system will be available on certain PCs from Acer, Samsung, HP, and other Microsoft partners, offering cool features like live captions and creative filters.

However, the one feature that has people talking right now is ‘Recall,’ which allows an AI assistant to “access virtually what you have seen or done on your PC in a way that feels like having photographic memory.” It meticulously logs every action you perform on the device, including app usage, live meetings, and visited websites. You can then initiate a ‘Recall’ and access a detailed snapshot of any specific time.

The feature seems to be quite practical.

Let’s say you saw something a week ago, and now you can’t seem to find it. With Copilot+ Recall, finding won’t be a problem. But what if it accidentally captures sensitive information? Microsoft reassured users that the data would be encrypted and localized on their devices. Recall’s index will be stored strictly on your device.

Microsoft will further keep you in control of the captured content with options to temporarily pause the feature, delete any snapshots, and exclude specific apps and websites. The developers have also programmed the feature to not capture data from InPrivate browsing sessions (incognito mode) and DRM-protected content (movies, music, books, shows, games, and other digital assets).

These measures are well thought through. Instead of sending the data to a server and risking hackers intercepting it, the data is stored on your device. But that doesn’t guarantee that hackers won’t gain unauthorized access to your device. At that point, encryption may not provide enough security.

Only time will tell just how secure your data is in the hands of Microsoft’s AI-powered Windows 11. The Copilot+ PCs will be available beginning on June 18th at a starting price of $999.

Update 23/05/2024: Privacy advocates have labeled the Microsoft’s new Recall feature as a “privacy nightmare.” As a result, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is investigating the AI Pcs.

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