Microsoft Surface Earbuds

Microsoft Surface Earbuds

Microsoft
Bluetooth

Review date: Nov. 8, 2021

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Mozilla says

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People voted: Not creepy

Microsoft really wants you to pair these funny looking earbuds with their Surface computers and tablets. They offer voice dictation for your Word docs and a feature to play your emails in the Outlook mobile app. These earbuds also connect to other things like your phone and non-Surface computer via Bluetooth. And of course, they do earbud things like play music and take calls. Maybe they're not that cool, but hey, you can play your Outlook emails right to your brain with them!

What could happen if something goes wrong?

Microsoft has had some bumps when it comes to security recently, most notably a major hack that left their Microsoft Exchange email service vulnerable and exploited. That hack didn’t affect something like the privacy of their Surface Headphones directly, but coupled with incidents like in December, 2019 when 250 million internal customer service and support logs were exposed online, and Microsoft’s security feels a little uncertain. Microsoft did pay 341 researchers millions of dollars in a year for reporting security vulnerabilities, so their bug bounty project is working. That is good.

Microsoft will collect some personal information on you if you choose to use the Surface Audio app to do things like customize the equalizer settings of your headphones. The app isn’t required to use the headphones, although most users will probably want the features it offers. Microsoft says they will use your data to target you with ads on Microsoft web properties. Microsoft also says they might share your data with partners like Verizon and Facebook to collect data about your online activity for advertising purposes, and to place their own ads. Finally, Microsoft says they can combine data with third parties, such as data brokers.

All in all, Microsoft seems to have some issues when it comes to security these days and we’re not too sure about all the ways they share your data either. Fortunately, these headphones don’t collect a ton of data so the worst thing that could probably happen is you’ll look kinda dorky as you dictate your Outlook emails.

Tips to protect yourself

  • Consider using your headphones without connecting it to an app. This way, you may decrease amount of data collected
  • Check Microsoft Surface settings for privacy
mobile Privacy warning Security A.I.

Can it snoop on me? information

Camera

Device: No

App: No

Microphone

Device: Yes

App: No

Tracks location

Device: No

App: Yes

What can be used to sign up?

What data does the company collect?

How does the company use this data?

Microsoft uses data to advertise and market to you, which includes sending promotional communications, targeting advertising, and presenting you with offers. It does use your data to target you with advertising within Microsoft web properties. It also allows numerous partners like Verizon and Facebook, to collect data about your online activity for advertising purposes, and to place their own ads. Microsoft also extensively combines its data with third parties, such as data brokers for demographic data, service providers that help determine your device’s location, marketing partners, third parties that deliver experiences through Microsoft products, and publicly-available sources, such as open government databases.

How can you control your data?

You can manage your data via the Microsoft Privacy dashboard. retention details and deletion methods are unclear.

What is the company’s known track record of protecting users’ data?

Needs Improvement

Microsoft suffered a major hack that left their Microsoft Exchange email service vulnerable and exploited. That hack didn’t affect the privacy of their Surface Headphones. In December, 2019, 250 million Microsoft internal customer service and support logs were exposed online.

Can this product be used offline?

No

User-friendly privacy information?

No

Very long and complicated privacy statement

Links to privacy information

Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards? information

Yes

Encryption

Yes

Strong password

Yes

Security updates

Yes

Manages vulnerabilities

Yes

Privacy policy

Yes

Does the product use AI? information

Can’t Determine

Is this AI untrustworthy?

Can’t Determine

What kind of decisions does the AI make about you or for you?

Is the company transparent about how the AI works?

Can’t Determine

Does the user have control over the AI features?

Can’t Determine


News

Microsoft Security Shocker As 250 Million Customer Records Exposed Online
Forbes
A new report reveals that 250 million Microsoft customer records, spanning 14 years, have been exposed online without password protection.
China's Microsoft Hack May Have Had A Bigger Purpose Than Just Spying
NPR
When investigators discovered the hack on Microsoft Exchange servers in January, they thought it was about stealing emails. Now they believe China vacuumed up reams of information in a bid to develop better artificial intelligence, or AI.
Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 review: perfect for work-from-home life
The Verge
Microsoft achieved something very impressive with the original Surface Headphones: the company was able to leapfrog veterans of the noise-canceling headphone market (like Bose and Sony) with an ingenious method for controlling them.

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