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Monday, 11 June 2012 13:43

Microsoft defends do not track policy

Written by Nick Farrell

internet explorer logo

We are doing no evil

Software giant Microsoft is bizarre position of having to defend itself from doing the right thing over its “do not track” policy. In a classic case of “damned if you do, damned if you don't”, Redmond is coming under fire for making its do not track policy the default on Explorer 10.

In the Release Preview of Windows 8, Internet Explorer 10 became the first browser to turn on Do Not Track by default, which requests websites do not use tracking technologies such as cookies for that user. However, the W3C's current working draft for the DNT specification says it shouldn't be switched on automatically, as users should actively decide to use it.

This has the agreement of advertisers who hope that enough people will be dumb enough not to set their cookies to do not track. Redmond said that it “respectfully disagrees” with those who argue that the default setting for DNT should favour tracking as opposed to privacy. The company said that it would rather err on the side of user privacy.

Brendon Lynch wrote in a Microsoft blog post that providing a choice regarding DNT means having a setting users can control. "When a setting is created, however, the software provider needs to decide on an initial default (i.e., the state of the setting when the product is first launched). We ultimately concluded that the appropriate privacy-friendly default for DNT in IE10 is 'on'."


Nick Farrell

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