The Privacy Auditing feature was shown off on Twitter, by Microsoft’s VP for Enterprise and OS Security, David Weston, and it’s present in a new preview build of Windows 11 (being tested in the Dev Channel, where the earliest preview versions of the OS are put through their paces).
New Windows 11 Privacy Auditing features allow you to see history of sensitive device access like the Microphone pic.twitter.com/vq3IJkAIMOJune 16, 2022
The feature nestles under Settings (in Privacy & security > App permissions), where you can view a list of recent activity to see, for example, which apps have accessed your microphone in the past week, or maybe your camera, another obvious point of call for checking up on any potentially suspicious activity.
It also keeps tabs on applications which have accessed your contacts, or details relating to your location, phone calls and more.
In each instance, the user is also told the exact time and date of the access made to the hardware or function in question.
Analysis: A useful way to keep an eye on your applications
It’s good to see that the coverage provided here is pretty wide-ranging in terms of keeping tabs on various sensitive bits and bobs, from the obvious cameras and mics, through to contacts and other such details.
This is great info to have in terms of transparency relating to what the software on your system is getting up to. Periodically checking through the privacy audits present in Settings could potentially yield some interesting findings, flagging up apps that you wouldn’t have otherwise known had got their claws into some more sensitive aspects of your system (or highlighting something malicious that has flown under the radar, even).
Microsoft has long had a troubled reputation for privacy when it comes to Windows, particularly since Windows 10 came along, so it’s also good to see the software giant taking a positive step forward on this front – one that should help Windows 11 users maintain a better level of vigilance and overall security when it comes to their PC. Assuming the feature makes it past the testing stage, of course…