Microsoft reverses position on Do Not Track default from Internet Explorer

Microsoft has reversed course on a Web browsing feature that was a controversial subject in Internet privacy debate.  Web experts took a considerable period of time to revive anything resembling a consensus on how it should be implemented. Microsoft has been criticized for enabling the do-not-track setting by default in Internet Explorer.

Microsoft chief privacy officer Brendon Lynch mentioned in a Friday blog post, “Put simply, we are updating our approach to DNT to eliminate any misunderstanding about whether our chosen implementation will comply with the W3C standard.”

The Internet users have become aware of the amount of data advertisers were able to collect based on their browsing therefore privacy advocates and regulators in recent years pushed for a “do not track” feature in Web browsers that would ask sites not to monitor their behavior for advertising purposes.

Microsoft intimately resolved the issue, enabling do not track by default beginning with the 2012 release of Internet Explorer 10.

  Now, the company is introducing this system in its new browsers, citing a move from a Web standards group to recommend giving individual users choice as to whether to enable tracking features. 


Some major advertisers such as Yahoo ignored Microsoft’s tracking settings saying the automatic setting would “degrade the experience of the majority of users.” Implementing practices over monitoring Internet users’ behavior makes them more valuable advertising targets, and advertiser-dependent Web companies were vocal in opposition to Microsoft’s automatic do not track feature after it was first enabled.


However, the criticism didn’t impede Microsoft and DNT has remained the default in Express Settings for current builds of IE11. But Lynch said that will now change effective immediately.


The reversal has been evoked by introducing new language in the latest version of the W3C’s DNT spec. “In the absence of user choice, there is no tracking preference expressed.” Lynch has mentioned in the new draft. According to Lynch, DNT will now ship disabled by default in Microsoft’s browsers – including both IE and the new Project Spartan.

Ehacking Staff
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