Elon Musk calls on millions to disable controversial Windows 11 feature that takes screenshots on your PC

Elon Musk has criticized a controversial new AI feature coming to Windows 11 devices this summer. Known as Recall, it takes screenshots of everything on the screen so you can scroll back in time and continue working something of the past month. The functionality will be exclusive to a range of new Copilot+ PCs.

Artificial intelligence, powered by Microsoft’s $10 billion licensing deal with OpenAI his latest ‘flirty’ ChatGPT modelanalyzes text and images in the screenshots, so you can search for phrases, people, animals, and landmarks to find what you’re looking for, without knowing the name of a document or web page.

“We wanted to solve one of the most frustrating problems we encounter every day: finding something we know we’ve seen before on our PC. Today we have to remember which file folder it was saved in, which website it was on, or browse through scrolling through hundreds of emails trying to find it,” wrote Yusuf Mehdi, Chief Marketing Officer at Microsoft a company blog “With Recall, you can now access virtually everything you’ve seen or done on your PC in a way that feels like photographic memory.”

But Elon Musk has compared the AI ​​functionality to Black mirror, a show that depicts near-future dystopias with a strong emphasis on technology. The Twilight zone–inspired series, created by Charlie Brooker for Channel 4 before it was sold to Netflix, is named after the reflective nature of a computer screen when it is turned off.

“This is a Black Mirror episode. Please turn off this ‘feature’ permanently,” says the Tesla and SpaceX executive Posted on his social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. The 52-year-old multi-billionaire – who regularly tops the list as the richest person in the world depending on the strength of Tesla’s stock price – shared a clip with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talking about Recall’s functionality in Windows 11.

Users on X quickly responded to Elon Musk’s post.

animated gif showing how to scroll back in time on Windows 11 PC using the callback feature

Recall is the main feature of this range of Copilot+ PCs, allowing you to scroll back through everything that happened on your Windows 11 machine and jump back in time with one click. Everything is searchable because AI has searched the images and text on the device


“Uhhhh sounds like surveillance repackaged as a feature,” one person said shared regarding the Windows 11 tweet, while another joked: “Did the CIA come up with this?”

“So a built-in screen recorder. Because that’s not a security risk. You have to give them credit though; they took malware and turned it into a ‘feature’,” says a skeptical user on shared in response to the message.

Recall is not enabled by default, so there is no need to disable the feature as recommended by Elon Musk. When you set up your Windows 11 machine, you’ll be asked if you want to use Recall, but it won’t take any ready-made screenshots in the background.

That said, it’s worth noting that Elon Musk, who also owns and operates the tunnel construction company The Boring Company, is far from the only one concerned about the implications of the upcoming Recall feature.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) confirmed to the BBC that it “inquired with Microsoft to understand the security measures in place to protect user privacy.” The data protection regulator added that private companies must “rigorously assess and mitigate the risks to people’s rights and freedoms” before launching new products.

In an effort to allay fears, Microsoft has reassured PC owners that Recall will never take screenshots when you use a private browsing mode, such as incognito mode in Google Chrome. Windows 11 users can also add individual exceptions, including specific applications, to which the feature does not apply.

Privacy activists have also responded terribly strongly on the announcement of Recall.

“This could be a privacy nightmare,” Dr. Kris Shrishak, an AI and privacy consultant, told the BBC. “The mere fact that screenshots are taken while using the device can have a chilling effect on people.”

Jen Caltrider, program director for the *Privacy Not Included team at Mozilla, has warned that Recall would give anyone with access to your laptop or desktop PC access to a wealth of personal information because it contains a categorized list of recent activities. .

Caltrider warned: “[This includes] court orders from law enforcement agencies, or even from Microsoft if they change their mind about keeping all this content local and not using it for targeted advertising or training their AIs in the future.”

Microsoft says Recall will not censor or erase information from captured screenshots, even if passwords or bank account information is visible on the screen.

In a blog post about the new functionality that will be added the new Surface Laptop next monthwrote the US company: “Recall uses your personal semantic index, which is built and stored entirely on your device.

“Your snapshots are yours; they stay locally on your PC. You can delete individual snapshots, adjust time ranges, and delete them in Settings, or pause them at any time, right from the notification area icon on your taskbar. You can also delete apps filtering and websites are never saved. You are always in control and you can trust the privacy.”

Surface laptop 7th edition shown with the new version of Windows 11 in the 13-inch and 15-inch model Recall and some other AI features will be exclusive to Windows 11 on so-called Copilot+ PCs, including the newly announced Surface Laptop 7th Edition, pictured above MICROSOFT PRESS OFFICE

But Jake Moore, global cybersecurity consultant at software security firm ESET, said creating and storing more private data through this feature could be an attractive prospect for cybercriminals.

“Enabling a feature that has the ability to capture screen data not only provides even more data to the company behind the software, but also opens up a new avenue for criminals to attack,” he said.


“While this feature is not enabled by default, users should note that content may be analyzed by AI algorithms for a better experience.

“While it may deliver better results, a balance must be maintained between functionality and privacy and therefore users must remain aware of the potential risks if sensitive data is ever compromised. Creating and storing more private data seems unnecessary when cybercriminals are constantly looking for a particular vulnerability to exploit.”

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