Windows 8 Will Have "Do Not Track" Turned on by Default
June 1, 2012 9:29 AM
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Microsoft says DNT tech on by default is a milestone
Microsoft announced yesterday that Windows 8 had reached
. Microsoft also said that Internet Explorer 10 in Windows 8 would run Do Not Track (DNT) by default. That Do Not Track technology allows users to surf the web without worrying that ads will track where they go after they leave that site.
Microsoft calls running the DNT technology on by default a milestone the effort to advance trust and privacy online. IE 10 will be the first browser with DNT on by default. Internet surfers, however, will be able to turn off the DNT technology if they want.
Microsoft says the idea for its DNT technology was in part from the FTC report issued in December 2010 that called on technology and advertising companies to create a comprehensive consumer choice mechanism for online behavioral advertisement targeting.
Microsoft subsequently added DNT technology to Internet Explorer 9 in February 2011.
Microsoft does note that in addition to the DNT technology for IE 10, the browser will also have the Tracking Protection Lists capability featured in IE 9. Microsoft also notes that having a browser that supports DNT is only part of protecting consumers. Websites also need a common understanding of what the consumer wants when the site detects the browser DNT signal.
According to the software giant, as of now there is no agreed definition of how to respond to a DNT signal sent from a browser. Microsoft plans to help push for an agreed definition in the industry by using its position in the advertising industry and software industry to push for clear definition of to respond to a DNT signal.
Microsoft also notes that its own advertising arm intends to treat a DNT signal as an opt-out of behavioral advertising. Oddly, Microsoft's advertising does not currently respond to a DNT signal, but the company says it is actively working with other advertising industry leaders on an implementation plan.
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6/5/2012 8:52:27 AM
I really wish these articles explained DNT better. DNT is a HTTP Header (a line of text included in requests sent by all browsers with DNT turned on). Advertising networks can voluntarily (i.e. it's NOT compulsory) then disable tracking you whether it be by cookies or various other means.
The current agreement between browsers and advertisers is that advertisers will respect the DNT setting if setting the DNT header on is OPT-IN, i.e. users explicitly set it on themselves and browsers default to having DNT disabled.
IE10 has breached that agreement.
Since IE10 will breach the agreement, advertisers are no longer obliged to respect the DNT header. At present, they are discussing this with Microsoft and probably threatening to can the entire system and make sure everyone knows that it's Microsoft's fault.
Why? Microsoft are squandering the goodwill browsers have built up, the work by US authorities and various consumer groups to ensure DNT works and is acceptable to advertisers. All to gain a little bit of marketing that makes IE10 look like a pro-user browser you should use and trust.
Even if dropping a nuclear bomb on DNT does the exact opposite and set the entire industry progress on this back by years.
"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007
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