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Intel Arc GPU driver now collects telemetry data by default

The new Intel driver for Arc graphics cards includes user data tracking that is enabled by default, though it can be turned off, unlike some rival GPU vendors.

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It has been spotted that the latest edition of the Intel Arc graphics card driver includes a feature called ‘Compute Improvement Program‘, which is a service for collecting telemetry data about users’ computers. This feature tracks information such as website usage, software usage, and system information and, by default, it’s selected for installation.

This Intel Arc graphics card driver telemetry data collecting component will automatically be installed if you choose the ‘typical’ installation option and is selected by default if you choose the ‘custom’ installation option too. You have to untick the box to disable the feature once you’ve already chosen to go the custom installation route, if you don’t want it installed.

Intel is open about what Compute Improvement Program is and what data it collects, expressly pointing out on its website that the software ‘does not collect your name, email address, phone number, sensitive personal information, or physical location (except for country).’ 

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However, what it does collect is information such as the category of websites that you visit, the frequency with which you use applications, as well as more typical system hardware information such as what model of CPU you’re using and how much RAM you use.

While this discovery made by TechPowerup is potentially a little alarming, Intel points out that all the information is abstracted, with websites categorized into areas such as social media or news, and URLs and webpage titles not collected. Application data also doesn’t include user inputs or the application content.

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What’s more, such telemetry is quite common and is also included in both AMD and Nvidia’s equivalent drivers. AMD does include a clear option to opt out of its data collection, though again it’s selected by default, but Nvidia doesn’t even let the user opt out – it’s simply part of the terms of using the software.

As such, Intel’s addition of data collection isn’t alarming as such but just a notable change to its previous driver behavior. Such data collection is also crucial for driver development, and given how Intel’s Arc graphics cards, such as the Intel Arc A770, still have quite a few issues with game and application compatibility, you may well want to embrace the data collecting and help Intel improve its drivers as quickly as possible. Maybe if things improve enough, an Intel Arc card will make it onto our best graphics card list.

The change is currently only in the 101.4578 beta version of the drivers, with the latest standard release being version 101.4577, which you can download here.

Are you an Intel Arc graphics card owner? Does such data collection concern you or do you see it as being all part of what’s required for keeping our computers running? Let us know your thoughts on the Custom PC Facebook page, via Twitter, or join our Custom PC and Gaming Setup Facebook group and tap into the knowledge of our 400,000+ members.