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Accidental Ad Blocker

Privacy advocates think the next version of Internet Explorer, the program that connects most of us to the Web, is a step in the right direction.

Advertisers? Well, they're not so sure.

The advertising industry is bracing for trouble from the next version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer, details of which were announced today, because it will offer a feature that blocks some ads and other content from third-parties that shows up on Web pages.

"It has the potential to undermine the economies of the Internet," said Mike Zaneis, vice president of the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

Most online advertising is served to Web pages by advertising networks -- third parties. Blocking the ads would cut into the money Web publishers rely on, he said. While other ad blockers have been around, this feature worries some because it would come built into the world's most popular Web browser.

A Microsoft spokesman said that the feature, to be known as "InPrivate Blocking," was never designed to be an ad blocker, though "there may be ads that get blocked."
Instead, it was designed to stop tracking "pixels" or pieces of code that could allow third-party sites to track users as they move around the Web.

"Today, sites that people don't know they visited are in a position to create a profile about where and how they browse," said Dean Hachamovitch , general manager of Internet Explorer. "People should be able to choose whether or not they want to be part of that exchange of information."

Via email, Microsoft sent Web pages over for NYTimes.com, CNN.com and Washingtonpost.com showing that with or without "InPrivate Blocking," the ads came through.

"The new privacy controls are things we have been pushing for for a long time," said Ari Schwartz of the Center for Democracy and Technology.

By Peter Whoriskey  |  August 25, 2008; 7:30 PM ET  | Category:  Peter Whoriskey
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So let me get this straight, IE is finally getting to something that has be available for FireFox for 2.5 years, AD BLOCK PLUS. Wow, I see that vista invitation is rubbing off, issuing code that has been used for years, but cutting it down to be useless, increase resource use by 30%, and only allow MS based advertising/programs. Just like Vista did with Beryl/Fusion.
Everyone, do your self a favor and get fire fox. Add on Ad Block plus and No Script. And get ahead of IE curve.

Posted by: hmmm | August 25, 2008 8:39 PM

It's interesting that the same method used for tracking, pulling a resource from a 3rd party site, is exactly the same method used by many mashups to include things like Google maps and AJAX libraries on their sites.

Posted by: John Reasons | August 25, 2008 8:43 PM

This is totally different then an ad blocker. It really does help to illustrate an issue most users do not understand and what most advertisers do not want you to understand. Thisi s a good step and I like it. Now if we can jsut control the like of Charter and Comcast and others using packet sniffers and selling your data.

Posted by: Chipper | August 26, 2008 12:41 AM

Read their blog posts. Third-party content is stuff that comes from sites other than the one you see in the address bar. This is not an ad-blocker... it's a privacy protector. You may still see ads (that come directly from the site you visit). What you won't do is keep sending your information to all these other sites (check out the Web Page Privacy Policy dialog in IE for any real web page... long list of all the other websites you're sending information to).

Posted by: Max | August 26, 2008 2:23 AM

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Posted by: www.1girlgames.com | August 26, 2008 3:26 AM

Why should I care if third party ad companies watch where I visit and use that info to serve me more relevant ads? I would rather see ads for things that relate to me versus things that I have no use for.

Posted by: targeted ads fan | August 26, 2008 3:52 AM

Why should I care if third party ad companies watch where I visit and use that info to serve me more relevant ads? I would rather see ads for things that relate to me versus things that I have no use for.

Posted by: targeted ads fan | August 26, 2008 3:52 AM

Why should I care if third party ad companies watch where I visit and use that info to serve me more relevant ads? I would rather see ads for things that relate to me versus things that I have no use for.

Posted by: targeted ads fan | August 26, 2008 3:53 AM

Given how much information Internet Service Providers and governments keep on web surfing, the privacy problems posed by this type of tracking is negligible.

Posted by: Graeme | August 26, 2008 3:57 AM

.

Posted by: Alex | August 26, 2008 7:25 AM

i already do not see wapo or any other ads. mozilla has had addons to capture redirects and keep flash content from running for a long time. ms is just playing catchup. i also do not run microsoft product on my intel pc (not linux either).

it should be illegal for any redirects or client logging. advertizing has become a plague worse than propaganda itself.
the internet was wonderful in its youth. its now a sewer like the rest of corporate america.

Posted by: oldnews | August 26, 2008 7:40 AM

Just because you don't see the targeted ads doesn't mean the targeted ads can't see you. Take a look at your status bar while a page is loading and see all the third-party "content" that is still loading (slowing the page load and no doubt taxing your system resources) even though Adblock is keeping it off your screen.

You need to maintain your HOSTS file (a Windows system file) and make sure the purveyors of third-party ad content are in it. That will completely block them from your computer and you'll see a little box that says "could not find the server at ****."

Posted by: Grumpyoldlady | August 26, 2008 8:31 AM

Yes, filter all ads and kill the biggest spammer on the internet that claims to do no evil.

Posted by: netuser | August 26, 2008 9:37 AM

It sounds to me like its just a third party cookie blocker.. Firefox already has this (although problematic).

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Posted by: dnytx dzxok | August 26, 2008 5:31 PM

As the author of the EasyList Filters for Adblock Plus, tracking and privacy invasion is an underrated problem that we address. Blocking third-party ads stops a majority of tracking scripts and web bugs ... but we also make the "Tracking Filter" subscription too. The Tracking Filter stops other tracking and privacy invasions that the regular ad-blocking EasyList subscription does not catch. Both of these do a GREAT job of stopping most cookies being set on you pc.

Anyone who hasn't seen the massive arrays of both first & 3rd-party info-gathering scripts and images has really never looked hard enough for them. Some sites are just 'staggering' in the amount of things set up on a site to look at you when you show up on a site .... and they are trying gather and compile as much info on you as humanly possible. In many cases, this info goes far beyond "targeted advertising".

I realized this trend a couple of years ago and started to do something about it. Now it looks like MS is seeing the same thing ... except I wouldn't trust MS to treat THEIR OWN advertising and tracking the same as they will treat anyone else's.

@Grumpyoldlady:
Adblock Plus BLOCKS the requests for blocked items from ever being sent from your computer. It's like erasing that part of the html code. The request is never sent .. . and the target script or image is never received by you.

@Peter Whorisky:
How about that Peter? ... remember how I told you about the importance of the Tracking Filter when we talked? The articles that will be written about the new IE's feature will shed much more light to average users now. Web tracking is such a hot topic, it is now in the hands of the U.S. Senate :-)

Posted by: rick752 | August 26, 2008 11:13 PM

I guess this will hit the likes of Phorm who are trialling tracking and contextually targeted ads over here in the UK with ISPs, but not informing the users themselves. That's already started a heated debate here. www.mediastarz.co.uk

Posted by: Mediastarz.co.uk | August 27, 2008 4:42 PM

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