Microsoft cancels universal Recall release in favor of Windows Insider preview

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Microsoft has decided to cancel the wide release of Recall, the controversial tool for Copilot+ PCs, and instead make it available only to Windows Insiders for the foreseeable future. This decision follows significant backlash over privacy concerns.

Recall, announced on May 20, is designed to take regular snapshots of a machine, creating a record of everything users do. It aims to help users retrieve forgotten websites, emails, or any other actions performed on their PCs. The tool uses AI to assist in these queries, theoretically simplifying the retrieval process.

The tool quickly became controversial when it was revealed that it could potentially record sensitive information such as passwords and bank account numbers. Critics argued that anyone with access to a PC running Recall could exploit this data, raising serious privacy concerns. The fact that Recall was enabled by default, with disabling options buried deep within Windows Settings, only exacerbated the issue.

Beyond security concerns, some thought Recall could become a legal liability, as every action performed on a PC would be discoverable in litigation. As well, Analysts also criticized Microsoft for its apparent disregard for user privacy.

In response to the criticism, Microsoft initially made Recall an opt-in feature rather than being enabled by default. They also added extra security measures, such as requiring authentication to produce results from Recall and ensuring that stored data remained encrypted until queried.

Despite these changes, the backlash persisted. On June 7, Microsoft announced further delays for Recall’s release, and on Thursday, they confirmed that the tool would not be delivered to all users of Copilot+ PCs on June 18 as planned. Instead, it will be available to members of the Windows Insider Program “in the coming weeks.”  When, or even if, it will get a wider launch is unknown.

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