The latest Internet Explorer 10 will push through with its Do Not Track option according to Microsoft’s announcement today. The controversial feature will be turned on by default during its first run, depending on the type of settings customers will choose. There will be two options: Express or default settings will automatically engage Do Not Track, while Custom settings will allow a user to turn it off.
As Microsoft shows the world it cares for customer’s privacy by implementing Do Not Track, online advertisers cry foul against the new feature. Do Not Track is a useful tool in Web privacy by telling advertisers not to keep customer information specific to browser requests and responses. While online advertisers can still show their products, there will be a limitation on how they can record the activities of a user’s browser.
While a user will not notice any difference in his or her browsing experience, Do Not Track works in the background by sending an HTTP header to every Web server indicating what is the preference of a user. The Do Not Track header, called “DNT” will either have a value of “0”, which means tracking is allowed; or a value or “1”,meaning the user does not want to be tracked at all. There will also be instances that DNT will be missing completely, leaving the decision to the advertiser.
Basically, the header does not and cannot do anything in and of itself. Advertisers still have full control whether or not to track user activities. Normally, advertisers would want to track user browsing behaviors so that relevant ads will be shown to the user, and hence more likely to get clicked on.
However, as governments around the world tightens their grip on how far online advertisements and Web privacy, advertisers would likely conform to what Microsoft is trying to achieve. Fear of something worse like total government ban on tracking activities leave advertisers to tentatively get on board with the Do Not Track scheme. Do Not Track may not be good for business from an advertiser’s standpoint, but it definitely beats something more drastic like total loss of opportunity for advertising if governments will formulate more strict measures.
Microsoft claims that their Do Not Track tool “puts people first” in its agenda. Internet Explorer 10 is a further enhancement of its predecessor as it expands on some specific functionality like additional support for HTML5, CSS 3, and hardware acceleration. It is currently under development but will expectedly be released during the launch of Windows 8 this coming October. According to Microsoft, there will be enough textual description during Windows 8 installation providing adequate information for users about Do Not Track feature. Users will also know that they have an option to turn off the feature if they want to.
Regulators have looked into Microsoft’s project and gave the tech giant some backing, especially in the Eurozone.