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Microsoft Sets 'Do Not Track' as Default in Internet Explorer

Microsoft Sets 'Do Not Track' as Default in Internet Explorer
By Jennifer LeClaire

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Analyst Greg Sterling said he does not expect the "Do Not Track" settings to affect search marketing, or if it does, only at the margins, but display advertising could be profoundly affected for Internet Explorer users. Of course, he said, third parties voluntarily comply with DNT – and there isn't anything technically to "force" them to do so.
 


Many privacy watchers have been waiting to see how Microsoft would implement "Do Not Track," or DNT, in Internet Explorer 10. Well, the verdict is in.

Microsoft just announced it would enable DNT in the "Express Settings" portion of the Windows 8 set-up experience. Customers will also be given a "Customize" option that allows them to switch DNT off.

"This approach is consistent with Microsoft's goal of designing and configuring IE features to better protect user privacy, while also affording customers control of those features," said Brendon Lynch, chief privacy officer at Microsoft, in a blog post. "It also underscores that the privacy of our customers is a top priority for Microsoft."

Online Advertising Impacts

Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, said that depending on whose numbers you consult, IE is either the largest or the second-largest browser in the world -- and the fact that DNT is the default means that a large majority of IE users are unlikely to change those settings

"That could have a profound impact on publishers', ad networks' and marketers' abilities to employ some of the behavioral tracking and ad targeting or 're-targeting' techniques that have become quite common online," Sterling told us. "It's not clear to me at the moment how and whether this will adversely affect Facebook."

Sterling doesn't expect the DNT settings to affect search marketing, or if it does only at the margins, but display advertising could be profoundly affected for IE users. Of course, he said, third parties voluntarily comply with DNT – and there isn't anything technically to "force" them to comply at the moment.

"So we'll see what happens when Windows 8 comes out," Sterling said. "All the browsers will ultimately have DNT and the industry will have to find new ways to incentivize consumers to participate in online advertising or devise new approaches to ad targeting accordingly."

How IE 10 DNT Works

Lynch noted that in conjunction with the Release Preview of Windows 8 in late May, Microsoft announced it would be turning "on" a DNT signal as part of the default configuration for Internet Explorer. Since then, he said, Microsoft has conducted additional consumer research that confirmed strong support for "our consumer-privacy-first" approach to DNT.

Here's how it works: In the Windows 8 set-up experience, customers will be asked to choose between two ways of configuring a number of settings: "Express Settings" or "Customize." By providing a simple experience that allows customers to set their preferences, Lynch said the company sought to balance ease of use with choice and control. He explained that the recommended Express Settings are designed to expedite and streamline the overall set-up process, and, if selected, generally improve a customer's privacy, security, and overall experience on the device.

"DNT fits naturally into this process. Customers will receive prominent notice that their selection of Express Settings turns DNT 'on.' In addition, by using the Customize approach, users will be able to independently turn 'on' and 'off' a number of settings, including the setting for the DNT signal," Lynch said.

"Windows 7 customers using IE10 will receive prominent notice that DNT is turned on in their new browser, together with a link providing more information about the setting."
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

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Caruso:

Posted: 2012-08-08 @ 6:27pm PT
Microsoft failed at online advertising and hates the web because it pirates its OS, so it tries to limit the web's revenue sources. The web's capitalism is far more benevolent than the operating system capitalism of unjailbreakable Apples, Murdochs and Win8s, and acts as a constant critic of it, but it does so because of its revenue sources. All those independant websites depend on this to counter only a few corporations handling the information we can use. What's at stake here is whether or not we return to the dystopia of 90s media. what's at stake here isn't privacy but our quality of life. It's not rocket science, just irony. Yet another demonstration of how we still haven't learnt that things usually don't mean what they claim.



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