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How do you feel about opt-out telemetry in dev tools?

Kasey Speakman
collector of ideas. no one of consequence.
ใƒป1 min read

The .NET community has been dealing with this question, since Microsoft shipped its latest platform SDK (.NET Core) with telemetry turned on by default (opt-out). Without asking you, it will send your usage data back to MS. The response from its users has been overwhelmingly negative, but MS chooses to do it anyway. The upcoming version, 2.0, has expanded the telemetry it collects.

I wondered how the broader dev community feels about their build/dev tools sending telemetry without asking. Ostensibly for the best of reasons; to fix bugs and identify most- and least-used features to focus development efforts.

For me, I despise opt-out practices regardless of their reasons or potential benefits. I want to be able to choose to opt-in instead of not knowing that data is being leaked out to the internet. In practice I research each tool and find out how to disable telemetry if present. (This has become a massive chore on Microsoft platforms with operating systems and server applications like SQL all having opt-out telemetry now.) Even if the data is being anonymized and used for good reasons currently, that can change at any time or the anonymization can be insufficient[1]. Data can also be stolen by hackers[2] or just accidentally left out in public[3].

Well that's my opinion. What do you think?

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/aug/01/data-browsing-habits-brokers
[2] examples beyond count
[3] https://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/07/16/internet_dork_jihad_shocker/

Discussion (2)

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_bigblind profile image
Frederik ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ’ปโžก๏ธ๐ŸŒ Creemers

I personally don't mind it. But I'm usually OK with sending telemetry data to developers, as long as it doesn't include directly identifiable information.

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hiway profile image
Harshad Sharma

I prefer opt-in and enable it for regular tools. Tools that are sneaky and/or don't bother asking - I consider that as a symptom of a larger problem and seek alternatives if available.

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