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IE9 will have "no tracking" feature

 12:45 am on Dec 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Microsoft today said that the next major milestone of Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) will let users determine who tracks their movement and behavior online, its response to increasing calls for additional consumer control over the practice.

Privacy experts applauded Microsoft's move.

"This is a good development in the discussion of online tracking,' said Justin Brookman, director of consumer privacy at the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), a digital rights advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.

Dubbed "Tracking Protection," the feature will debut in the IE9 release candidate, slated to ship early next year, said Dean Hachamovitch, the Microsoft executive who heads IE development.

Tracking Protection will be opt-in -- it's off by default -- and will rely on published lists that selectively block third-party sites and content embedded in Web sites.




 12:53 am on Dec 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Also check out the in-depth announcement from the IE team itself:
IE9 and Privacy: Introducing Tracking Protection [blogs.msdn.com]

Today, consumers have very little awareness or control over who can track their online activity. Much has been written about this topic. With the release candidate:

  1. IE9 will offer consumers a new opt-in mechanism (“Tracking Protection”) to identify and block many forms of undesired tracking.
  2. “Tracking Protection Lists” will enable consumers to control what third-party site content can track them when they’re online.

We believe that the combination of consumer opt-in, an open platform for publishing of Tracking Protection Lists (TPLs), and the underlying technology mechanism for Tracking Protection offer new options and a good balance between empowering consumers and online industry needs.


 3:32 am on Dec 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

This is the first time I can remember that IE has met the cutting edge of consumer concerns. Idon't see how the other browser makers can ignore this gesture without looking like data-hungry ogres.


 4:04 am on Dec 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's about time a browser had that feature! Why did it take so long?


 4:12 am on Dec 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

So can I block Google and Microsoft and perhaps the government entities that control the net too? Somehow I think they get their data right from ones ISP... In another thread government has ordered all records be made available upon demand and so they must be tracked. That takes the punch out of this announcement a bit I'd say.


 4:55 am on Dec 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Oh-oh-ho-ho. I find this fascinating.
A Tracking Protection List (TPL) contains web addresses (like msdn.com) that the browser will visit (or “call”) only if the consumer visits them directly by clicking on a link or typing their address.

Anyone or any organization can create a TPL (it is just a file that can be placed on a website) and consumers can add and remove lists as they see fit, having more than one if they wish. To keep everyone’s experience up to date, the browser will automatically check for updates to lists on a regular basis.

In go all the normal ad serving websites. And that seems like a pretty big shot across the bow of Adsense by Microsoft.


 5:11 am on Dec 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

That might be true... but the "lists" will be third party or user generated, NOT BY MS. A tool is being offered that even MS and us webmasters, too, even the privacy nutz, know the average Joe Clueless User will never bother to train/build/download/attach-to. I think this is a grand idea, and will be out (probably) before the FCC orders browser makers to install such capability. What worries me with the gubermint (sic) will supply the "Don't Ask", er "Don't Track" list which will come complete with their "white list"...

Dang, that tin foil hat is getting awful tight!

While part of above is tongue-in-cheek, part is not: Joe User will have to TURN IT ON and then train it... and how many Joe Users do you know smart enough, or even inspired enough, to do that?


 12:47 pm on Dec 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

I expect all the Google websites will be first in the line in any list anyone develops, MS or not. It'll get sold as a 'browse ad free' benefit on top of the privacy factor. It seems like an easy sell to me.

I already browse with Google ads off thanks to a change in my hosts file. They can't track me directly that way anymore. (yes, I know there are other ways - but maybe the privacy tracker gets around that too?).

It just seems like a given to me that this would happen. And there goes adsense, and a noticeable chunk of both Google's and our (not mine!) revenue.


 4:03 pm on Dec 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Maybe Google will have to go back to *contextual* ads rather than interest based ads.


 4:43 pm on Dec 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

i also think that this move is heavily faciliated by the fact, that goog still controls the ad market and m$ has really not much business to lose with this browser feature on their end.
it's actually not much different from the "adblock plus" approach. this is by far the most demanded add-on for firefox. no wonder why m$ is now promoting that stuff on their browser to recover market share.


 6:14 pm on Dec 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thats very interesting news, especially as in the same week a flaw in the IE9 JavaScript Math.Random implementation was found that exposes the users last boot time, allowing you track user sessions even when browsers are closed, cookies are disabled...



 8:29 pm on Dec 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Will this effect Affiliate links and Adsense clicks?

I actually like to see sites with the ads because it helps me to see where they convert the best. As long as the ads are not pop-ups or animals running across my screen they do not bother me.


 6:20 am on Dec 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

If it doesn't block the self described "powers that be" it's kinda pointless. Search, security and government do more snooping than "those evil people" do these days.


 8:58 pm on Dec 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

The ability to avoid tracking is available already and is completely free.

Hostsman - a Windows hosts file editor which downloads block lists of malware, tracking, ad sites.

AdblockPlus - an addon for Firefox.

NoScript - another addon for Firefox that limits Javascript executing without permission.

BetterPrivacy - another addon for Firefox that eliminates flash cookies.

#*$! (<- wow, seems like this search engine name is banned here, the forum automatically edited my text.) - An ad-free Google search proxy which prevents the searcher's data being stored by Google, a Firefox plugin, and tools for webmasters.

I can't remember the last time I saw an Adsense ad.

Seeing how Google backtracked on its claim to delete search details after a period of time, I no longer trust them -- they are a defacto spy agency that hands out affiliate checks.

Google backpedals on IP 'anonymization' claim


 8:18 am on Dec 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

The ability to avoid tracking is available already and is completely free.
Yes, but few of those options you listed will work with IE. (Hostsman is the exception that sticks out to me.) Also, they're not easy enough for the average user to install and maintain. It has to be something built-in and transparent.
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