One of the major concerns of users upgrading to Windows 10 has been Microsoft encroaching on their privacy owing to the default data collection and usage tracking features.
Microsoft has also released updates for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users and turns out that the update has enhanced data collection even on these older operating system versions. So operating systems such as Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 are now able to collect data without the user's knowledge.
The updates released by Microsoft are kb3068708, kb3022345, kb3075249 and kb3080149, which basically "introduce the Diagnostics and Telemetry tracking service" for the older Windows versions. Moreover per Microsoft, these updates also "add telemetry points to the User Account Control (UAC) feature to collect information on elevations that come from low integrity levels."
So this basically means that once a user installs any of the above-mentioned updates, Microsoft will have the ability to collect data from your Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 PC just as it is able to on Windows 10.
For those worrying about the issue - there is a way of stopping Microsoft from collecting data. Here's how:
How to Stop Data Collection
The update KB3068708 mentions two domains which Microsoft is deploying to send the data it has collected to. These domains are:
So to stop this process, simply add these domains to the HOSTS file and they will be blocked completely.
Alternately, the best method to avoid data tracking if the four updates have already been installed on your PC would be to delete them completely. To do this, navigate to Control Panel > View the updates installed and remove the four.
Furthermore, you can eliminate the updates easier by launching a command prompt window with admin privileges and typing in each of the following commands to remove all the four updates:
wusa /uninstall /kb:3068708 /quiet /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3022345 /quiet /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3075249 /quiet /norestart
wusa /uninstall /kb:3080149 /quiet /norestart
Once you have done this ensure that you "hide" the updates so that they do not reinstall once the PC has been rebooted. To hide you need to do the following:
Step 1: In the list of updates right-click the update you do not want to see.
Step 2: Opt for Hide Update.