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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.
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:
- IE9 will offer consumers a new opt-in mechanism (“Tracking Protection”) to identify and block many forms of undesired tracking.
- “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.
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.
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.