What’s this Required Data Notice I’m getting?

If you have Microsoft Office installed on your Mac, chances are you got this popup window or will get it very soon. It doesn’t explain itself in very simple terms so I have gotten a lot of emails and calls from clients in the past few days asking what it is or if it’s malware.

In short, this is completely legitimate and there is nothing to worry about. You can just click the OK button.

Here is what the message is about. Because of recent European Union legistation, software must disclose what data it collects and why. This isn’t a new procedure for Microsoft. They are collecting the same information they always have. What’s new is that they are being explicit about it. So much so that it sounds ominous. You will get this even if you aren’t in the EU because Microsoft doesn’t want to risk trying to only give this to EU customers and missing some. So everyone gets it.

So what are they collecting? Basically they are saying that the software updater program needs to know what Microsoft applications you have installed on your computer so that it knows what software needs to be updated. That’s all. None of your content or personal information or name or contact information is sent to Microsoft unless you explicity choose to.