Microsoft plans ‘do not track’ feature in browser

By Reuters
Posted Dec. 7, 2010 at 2:12 p.m.

Microsoft plans to introduce a new “tracking protection” feature in the next version of its Internet Explorer browser, which will let users filter out sites they don’t want to share information with.

The move comes amid growing concern over Web sites and advertisers using technology to track sites visited on the Internet to build up profiles of users, generally without their knowledge or explicit consent.

Last week the Federal Trade Commission backed the creation of a “do not track” option that would limit the ability of advertisers to collect consumers’ data online.

Microsoft said on Tuesday its “tracking protection” feature would meet the demands being discussed by the FTC, by allowing users the option of blocking content from certain advertisers within a web page, and thus prevent any exchange of information.

Currently, many ads or invisible elements on web pages — from weather information to stock quotes and embedded videos — can automatically load a user’s Internet address and web page being viewed. Using “cookies,” or strings of data saved by the browser, web sites can build up a profile of a user over time.

By allowing users to effectively block certain sites, Microsoft likens its new feature to a “do not call” list to prevent unsolicited telephone marketing.

Once a user blocks a site, or element within a site, the browser limits data requests to that site to prevent exchange of information.

The new feature will be included in IE9, the latest version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser, which is expected to be released sometime next year. Microsoft’s browser is the world’s most popular, with about 60 percent market share.

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  1. Mike Schwab Dec. 7, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Firefox with NoScript already do this.

  2. joe Dec. 7, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Here is an angle that microsoft could gain market share with. And, they have the technical expertise to pull it off. If they are serious in implementing a true solution, then I applaud them.

  3. JSakic19 Dec. 8, 2010 at 1:00 a.m.

    This may be the very aspect that will ultimately separate Microsoft and Google. I applaud Microsoft for taking such a stance, especially with Google keeping track of every move an end-user makes.

  4. InternetEXPLODER Dec. 8, 2010 at 7:03 a.m.

    microsoft cannot even build a browser that is up to current standards, internet exploder is a pitiful browser for a company that should be at the top of their industry

    version 9 beta is moderately ok, but most end users don’t know or care what a software ‘version’ is. they just want things that work.

    the only reason IE 8 and below ‘work’ half the time on the web is because web developers jump through a lot of needless hoops to develop for websites that will display right in IE

  5. Back to Microsoft Dec. 8, 2010 at 7:24 a.m.

    I’m a strong user of Firefox and Chrome, but if this would be implemented by Microsoft, I’d probably use IE the most. Firefox is way too buggy and Google has known privacy issues. Funny that Microsoft can position itself as the underdog fighting for users’ privacy against the big bad Google and Facebook. Interesting how quickly perceptions can change.

  6. lrn2postnubs Dec. 8, 2010 at 7:58 a.m.

    FireFox + BetterPrivacy & Ghostery FTW. Yeah, throw in NoScript too but that requires user input on what to allow and do you really think your Mom is going to know what to allow and what not to allow?