Even though it won’t be released for another month and a half, Microsoft’s (MSFT) upcoming Windows 8 operating system has already found itself at the center of a number of controversies. After being criticized for its Metro interface and lack of a Start button, Microsoft is now facing its most troubling accusation yet. According to programmer Nadim Kobeissi, Windows 8 automatically and immediately, through a new feature called SmartScreen, informs Microsoft about every app that is downloaded and installed on the operating system.
Windows SmartScreen is supposedly meant to protect users from malicious programs by screening applications installed from the Internet and sending the information to Microsoft to ensure its safety. According to Kobeissi, however, “it may be possible to intercept SmartScreen’s communications to Microsoft and thus learn about every single application downloaded and installed by a target.”
The SmartScreen feature is turned on by default and when disabled, Windows will periodically pester users to re-enable it. Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.