In order for Cortana, Windows 10’s built-in digital assistant, to work as intended, it needs to be able to gather information about you and access some of your personal details.
This then lets it tell you what calendar appointments you have coming up, or lets you send emails to your contacts via Cortana, or check local weather reports, for example.
By default, Cortana has permission to access and upload information from your calendar, contacts and browsing history to the cloud. It also has access to your microphone and it can track your location.
Control Cortana privacy
If you’re uneasy with this, then you can customise some of the information Cortana can access. Click in the Ask me anything box, then click on the notebook button on the left (an icon of a circle inside a square), then select Settings.
Scroll down and you’ll see that you can disable the option to Detect tracking info, such as flights, in messages on my device. You can also disable Taskbar titbits (personalised messages from Cortana) here, should you wish.
Scroll up on the same Settings panel and you’ll see a blue link that’s labelled Manage what Cortana knows about me in the cloud. Click this and you’ll be taken to a web page (bing.com/account/personalization) that lets you view and clear some of the information stored about you in the cloud, including your interests, location history, and other data that Cortana has saved about you so far.
If you're still uncomfortable about what Cortana may be recording, you can switch Cortana off altogether.