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Microsoft is testing Privacy Auditing in Windows 11

Windows 11 logo and wallpaper with an eye and a magnifying glass on the top and a camera and mic ico

Privacy has always remained one of the top concerns with modern-day devices. Be it Android or iOS, macOS or Windows, privacy concerns have only increased. Now Microsoft seems to be testing an auditing tool that offers information about apps that access hardware considered sensitive to user privacy.

Microsoft is testing a new “Privacy Auditing” feature that would allow Windows 11 users to see which apps have been accessing hardware such as the PC's microphone, camera, and so on. It is basically a set of tools that would reveal which apps have access to "sensitive devices". Additionally, the tool would also indicate when the apps accessed the hardware.

It appears that Privacy Auditing might go beyond just offering information about access to sensitive hardware. Android and iOS already have comprehensive permission settings that make it possible to control precisely what tools, features, and data, the installed apps are able to access. The Privacy Auditing tool might offer something similar for Windows 11. The capability was highlighted by Microsoft's VP on OS Security and Enterprise recently:

As visible from the tweet above, the tool appears to be a part of the Privacy & security section of the Settings app. In addition to revealing information about microphone access along with a timestamp, it also lets users see which apps have access to or have accessed screenshots, messages, location data, and more.

Privacy Auditing is not available in the Stable Release channel of Windows 11. Microsoft seems to be testing the feature in the Insider Preview of Windows 11 from the Dev Channel. Hence, those who wish to test the feature need to be a member of the Windows Insider Preview and install the latest build available in the Dev Channel.

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