How to Get the Most Out of Copilot While Protecting Your Data - Latest Global News

How to Get the Most Out of Copilot While Protecting Your Data

Artificial intelligence is becoming more and more a part of our lives, and Microsoft has been perhaps the fastest to incorporate new AI features into its products. Microsoft Copilot is Microsoft’s AI assistant, accessible on Windows 11 and from many of its apps and services, such as Edge, Bing, and the Office suite.

It’s truly an impressive part of Microsoft’s modern approach to software. Copilot isn’t just a chatbot these days – it’s a full-fledged assistant that can see images, generate images and text, compose email responses, and more.

As Copilot becomes increasingly integrated with Microsoft’s services, you may be wondering how well the data you give to Copilot is protected – and how you can use Copilot while keeping your data safe. Here’s what you need to know.

What permissions does Copilot need?

To get the most out of Copilot, it needs virtually complete access to everything on your computer. That’s right – all the documents, emails, pictures and files you have on your computer can be viewed by Copilot if you give it access. This is important to remember if you store sensitive files on your computer.

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To be fair, Windows as a whole obviously has that access too. Increasingly, Microsoft wants users to see Copilot as part of the Microsoft and Windows experience—rather than an app that runs on Windows. Microsoft has been transparent about its approach to developing AI responsibly, including developing AI systems in accordance with the Microsoft Privacy Standard. This “standard” essentially specifies that while Microsoft collects data from you when you use Microsoft products, users can control the data Microsoft uses for advertising.

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Which Copilot features require an internet connection?

The features that Copilot requires an internet connection for actually vary a bit depending on what computer you have. Microsoft recently launched a new generation of computers called Microsoft Copilot+ PCs, which are specifically designed for better AI capabilities. Copilot+ PCs are based on an ARM architecture and offer impressive local AI performance. In addition, they can run what they call “small language models” locally, so many tasks don’t require an internet connection at all.

For this reason, new Copilot+ PCs actually support a wide range of functions that are processed locally and not in the cloud. However, not all of Copilot’s functions are executed locally.

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One feature that has garnered some attention since the launch of Microsoft’s Copilot+ PCs is the new Recall feature. This feature essentially takes screenshots of your computer as you use it and can then help you get back to websites, files, and more. However, according to Microsoft, these snapshots are only stored locally and encrypted on your hard drive. Microsoft says they are not uploaded to the cloud.

Another new feature is the Cocreate feature, which also runs locally. This feature is integrated into software like Paint and Photos and allows users to do things like sketch an image in Paint and combine it with text prompts to create entirely new images.

This does not mean that Copilot does not rely on the cloud at all. On the contrary, while Copilot+ PCs can run small Language models local, they cannot be executed large language models locally – and every time you use the service, for example, to retrieve information from the Internet, it will rely on cloud services. In addition, standard PCs that are not “Copilot+ PCs” will rely more heavily on cloud services because they cannot run these new small language models locally.

What you can do

So what can you do to make sure your data is protected while you use all these new features? Well, there’s really not much you can do. need to do if you want to use Copilot. To be clear: At the moment you do not need to have to use Copilot at all – it can be disabled in the settings of your Windows computer. And of course, you don’t necessarily have to use certain Copilot features.

Microsoft says Copilot adheres to the same privacy and security standards it already uses—and at this point, there’s no reason to believe Copilot is secretly collecting data you don’t know about and sending it to third parties. Hopefully Microsoft won’t prove otherwise.

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