A big Microsoft 365 usage analytics privacy change is here

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Microsoft 365 usage analytics are changing starting September 1, 2021. From that date onward, multiple Microsoft products and APIs will “pseudonymize user-level information by default.”

The move is being advertised as a way to help companies comply with local privacy laws. Over on the Microsoft 365 blog, there’s a list of which Microsoft services are affected by the change.

However, even though Microsoft is making pseudonymization the default, it’s still leaving the option open for admins to revert the change so that user information is identifiable. “When user identification is enabled, administrative roles and the report reader role will be able to see identifiable user level information,” Microsoft’s blog post reads. “Global reader and Usage Summary Reports Reader roles will not have access to identifiable user information, regardless of the setting chosen.”

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For those who aren’t global administrators, this policy change likely won’t have a direct impact in terms of requiring direct action, though it does give insight for average users as to how their privacy is, or isn’t, being protected. Knowledge of the policy change is useful to have, especially given how vast Microsoft’s reach is when it comes to pulling in user data. Consider how you’re contributing to analytics across the company’s various products right now, especially if you’re using Windows or are excited for the upcoming release of Windows 11.

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