Microsoft puts 'Do Not Track' function in next IE browser
Microsoft said Tuesday a new version of its browser, Internet Explorer, will come with technology that can block third-party firms from tracking a user's activity on the Web.
The announcement comes after the Federal Trade Commission last week recommended a blanket anti-tracking mechanism that would protect users' privacy online. The FTC's proposal, called "Do Not Track," is meant to recall the popular "Do Not Call" registry administered by the agency to block marketing calls. Do-not-track technologies, however, wouldn't be a list or registry but would be technology a user voluntarily signs up for that blocks companies from collecting information on what sites a user visits and what they do on those Web sites.
"Today, consumers share information with more Web sites than the ones they see in the address bar in their browser," said Dean Hachamovitch, Microsoft's corporate vice president of Internet Explorer. "This is inherent in the design of the Web and simply how the web works, and it has potentially unintended consequences."
Specifically, the IE9 browser will allow a user to set up a Tracking Protection list of Web sites that it doesn't want to track its information. A user would have to proactively set up the list. The default would be that Web sites -- including third-party firms -- could gather information about users as they do today.
Advertisers are currently able to gather information about a user's activity and create profiles on that user based on their behavior. That valuable information is then used for behavioral advertising, which privacy groups have urged federal regulators to curb.
"This is a step in the right direction, but we still need new privacy laws in the United States that reflect the 21st century digital world we are living in," said James Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media, which advocates for child safety on the web and in the media. "We hope this is a sign that the industry is taking the online privacy of consumers -- especially kids -- more seriously than they have been and that they will do the right thing and work with policymakers on privacy legislation that puts enforceable consumer protections in place."
Microsoft's Tracking Protection features will be in IE9, which will be available early next year.
| December 7, 2010; 3:45 PM ET
Save & Share: Previous: Pay-as-go Internet access boon for cable, troublesome for Internet firms
Next: Reps. Waxman, Markey urge strict conditions on Comcast-NBCU merger
Posted by: staticvars | December 7, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: ozpunk | December 7, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: SportzNut21 | December 7, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: sandbagger | December 7, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: BobNH | December 7, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: SoloOwl | December 7, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: rickyfantana | December 8, 2010 5:28 AM | Report abuse