Question Office 365 Telemetry and Data Collection

Aug 27, 2019
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I need some help/advice on which telemetry settings to enable/disable in Office365 and registry to maintain a reasonable level of privacy while not breaking functionality. I am not a security/privacy expert. But Office 365 is more cloud based compared to older standalone versions of Office so I want to make sure I don't break anything.
I found a good collection of registry tweaks posted by CHEF-KOCH at https://github.com/CHEF-KOCH/regtweaks/tree/master/OS independent/Ms Office/Disabel office 16 telemetry.
Explanation of tweaks is provided at https://getadmx.com/?Category=Office2016&Policy=office16.Office.Microsoft.Policies.Windows::L_Sendcustomerdata.
I listed all of the relevant Office365 registry tweaks below with a brief explanation and whether I thought they should be enabled/disabled. Additions/Edits/Comments/Opinions are welcome. Thanks in advance.

(1) Send personal information to Microsoft (disabled) - no data sent
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common]
"sendcustomerdata"=dword:00000000

(2) Send Office Feedback (a.k.a. Send a Smile) reagarding positive/negative experiences when using Office along with a desktop screenshot. (disabled) - no data sent
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\Feedback]
"enabled"=dword:00000000
"includescreenshot"=dword:00000000

(3) Logging - Outlook troubleshoot logging. (disabled) - no data collected
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook\Options\Mail]
"EnableLogging"=dword:00000000

(4) Configure the level of client software diagnostic data collected by Office and sent to Microsoft. (Required)
Choices are Required (1), Optional (2), or Neither (3).
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Common\ClientTelemetry]
"DisableTelemetry"=dword:00000001

(5) Enable Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) (disabled) - opt out of CEIP
Enable Microsoft Office Diagnostics to automatically receive small updates for improved reliability. (enabled) - turn on Office Diagnostics
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common]
"qmenable"=dword:00000000
"updatereliabilitydata"=dword:00000001

(6) Disable Opt-in Wizard on first run and Show OneDrive Sign-In when performing a File Save operation. (disabled) - Show Opt-In Wizard/Hide OneDrive SignIn
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\General]
"shownfirstrunoptin"=dword:00000000
"skydrivesigninoption"=dword:00000000

(7) Proofing Tools feature collects data about Proofing Tools usage and sends to Microsoft. (disabled) - no usage data sent
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\ptwatson]
"ptwoptin"=dword:00000000

(8) Disable First Run Movie and First Run on Application Boot when Office first runs. (enabled) - First Run not shown
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Firstrun]
"disablemovie"=dword:00000001
"bootedrtm"=dword:00000001

(9) Allow the use of connected experiences in Office that download online content. Examples: Office templates and PowerPoint QuickStarter.
Allow the use of connected experiences in Office that analyze content. Examples: PowerPoint Designer and Editor in Word.
Allow the use of additional optional connected experiences in Office. Examples: LinkedIn features of the Resume Assistant in Word or the 3D Maps feature in Excel, which uses Bing.
Allow the use of connected experiences in Office. (Seems to be combination of previous three settings).

(all enabled)

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\Privacy]
"downloadcontentdisabled"=dword:00000001
"usercontentdisabled"=dword:00000001
"controllerconnectedservicesenabled"=dword:00000001
"disconnectedstate"=dword:00000001

(10) Turn on telemetry data collection and uploading features in Office that are used by Office Telemetry Dashboard and Office Telemetry Log. (disabled) - no telemetry data uploaded
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\16.0\OSM]
"Enablelogging"=dword:00000000
"EnableUpload"=dword:00000000

(11) Office applications to exclude from Office Telemetry Agent reporting. *(enabled) - no telemetry data uploaded
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\16.0\OSM\preventedapplications]
"accesssolution"=dword:00000001
"olksolution"=dword:00000001
"onenotesolution"=dword:00000001
"pptsolution"=dword:00000001
"projectsolution"=dword:00000001
"publishersolution"=dword:00000001
"visiosolution"=dword:00000001
"wdsolution"=dword:00000001
"xlsolution"=dword:00000001

(12) Office solutions to exclude from Office Telemetry Agent reporting. (enabled) - no telemetry data uploaded
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\16.0\OSM\preventedsolutiontypes]
"agave"=dword:00000001
"appaddins"=dword:00000001
"comaddins"=dword:00000001
"documentfiles"=dword:00000001
"templatefiles"=dword:00000001
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Aug 27, 2019
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Thank you for the link. I found in the Privacy/Trust Center the ability to configure the options corresponding to the first three registry tweaks. The following ones are not so obvious.

Besides Microsoft, are there other specific reddits or forums or sites with security gurus that know which settings are safe to turn off to increase privacy?

Thanks!
 
Aug 27, 2019
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After more reading I learned a few things....

Tweaks 1, 2 and 3 can be turned on and off through local group policy if the latest administrative templates from Microsoft are locally installed.

Reg entry #1 from above is the most important of the privacy tweak in my opinion. I don't want to send personal information to Microsoft. In Office 2016, you could disable sending personal information to Microsoft by unchecking the option in File - Options - Trust Center - Trust Center Settings - Personal information at the top of the window. This option is now missing in Microsoft 365. Where did it move to?

Tweak 2 (smiley face) works from Local Group Policy. Tweak 3 (outlook logging) is unchecked by default in Outlook settings.

The Telemetry and Customer Improvement settings can be modified from Office 365 privacy window so no need to mess with group policy or registry editor.

The Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) seems to be left over from older versions of office and largely irrelevant now since there isn't much up to date info about this program.

The Telemetry Dashboard seems to be more geared toward organization deployment and not so relevant to individual users.

Comments/Opinions?

Thanks!
 

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