'Do Not Track' Draft Specification Puts the Kibosh on IE 10's Default "Do Not Track" Setting

By Tracey E. Schelmetic June 07, 2012

So you've decided you don't want to be tracked online. That's great. You've read that Internet Explorer 10, the latest iteration of Microsoft's browser, will feature inherent Do-Not-Track technology, and you need not ever worry about pesky advertisers tracking your online activities again. Take that, advertisers.

Then again, maybe not.

The latest draft specifications for do-not-track rules – created by technology companies and browser makers, privacy advocates and online advertising firms – have nixed “do not track” by default and outlined that “explicit consent” must be given by users to turn the technology on, according to Wired.

In other words, browser makers cannot make “do not track” the standard setting with the browser. Users must jump through a few hoops to turn the feature on.

“An ordinary user agent must not send a Tracking Preference signal without a user’s explicit consent,” according to the new rules. For example, “on first run, the user agent prompts the user to configure the Tracking Preference signal,” Wired reported.

As a result, Microsoft's intention to make “do not track” the out-of-the-box (so to speak) setting with IE 10 breaks the rules, no doubt much to the relief of online advertisers and Google, which runs an ad system based on tracking cookies. (Microsoft is not above taking an opportunity to tweak Google's nose.)

The new rules read:

Explicit Consent RequirementNote: This section was recently added and has not been extensively discussed with stakeholders. Please consider it a preliminary position. An ordinary user agent MUST NOT send a Tracking Preference signal without a user’s explicit consent. Example: The user agent’s privacy preferences pane includes controls for configuring the Tracking Preference signal. Example: On first run, the user agent prompts the user to configure the Tracking Preference signal.

So you'll still have “do not track” options with IE 10, but you're going to have to do a little footwork to get it.

Edited by Braden Becker

TechZone360 Contributor

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