IE 10 may not have Do Not Track enabled by default after all.
Microsoft last week made a big splash when it revealed that Internet Explorer 10 would ship with Windows 8 and have 'Do Not Track' enabled by default. DNT is a feature that will send a DNT HTTP header to let websites know you don't want third parties tracking your data. IE10 is the first browser to ship with this enabled by default, with other browsers leaving the decision to enable DNT up to the user. As you can imagine, the advertising industry wasn't exactly over-the-moon with Microsoft's move to make it a default for all IE 10 users. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Digital Advertising Alliance claimed IE 10's default-DNT feature was contradictory to what the Alliance agreed with the White House back in February.
Today brings fresh news on this saga. Wired has published the latest proposed draft of the Do Not Track specification and it appears to put the kibosh on Microsoft's default DNT with an explicit consent requirement. Rather than having DNT enabled by default, or not enabled at all, the document proposes that the user agent (in this case the browser) prompt the user to configure the Tracking Preference signal upon first run. The proposal also includes the following message to really drive the point home:
"An ordinary user agent MUST NOT send a Tracking Preference signal without a user's explicit consent."
The proposal, penned by Peter Eckersley of Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mozilla's Tom Lowenthal, and
Jonathan Mayer from Stanford University, states that this 'Explicity Consent Requirement' section was recently added and should be considered a preliminary decision. It has not yet been accepted by the entire group but Wired's Ryan Singel believes that it is likely to be accepted. Microsoft has not yet commented on the draft proposal of the Do Not Track Specification.