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Proposed 'Do Not Track' Specs Would Kill IE10's Default DNT

By - Source: Wired | B 26 comments

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.

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  • 15 Hide
    erunion , June 8, 2012 2:25 PM
    So the industry-government agreement called "Do Not Track" is designed to protect tracking. Surprise!
  • 13 Hide
    eddieroolz , June 8, 2012 2:51 PM
    So now the industry moves to kill off an excellent initiative by Microsoft. Shame.
Other Comments
  • 2 Hide
    victorious 3930k , June 8, 2012 2:16 PM
    Mozilla? I trusted you :( 
  • 0 Hide
    dextermat , June 8, 2012 2:16 PM
    Off course not: We know by then that IE goal is not to protect user against virus infection + user privacy.

    Those feature are completely useless (I'm being Ironic of course)
  • 15 Hide
    erunion , June 8, 2012 2:25 PM
    So the industry-government agreement called "Do Not Track" is designed to protect tracking. Surprise!
  • 2 Hide
    DRosencraft , June 8, 2012 2:51 PM
    Not an ideal situation, but I can live with that. Just set it to not track on first config and don't worry about it again. I prefer IE10's default action, but this isn't a horrible compromise. Better than what they apparently wanted (allowing tracking by default).
  • 13 Hide
    eddieroolz , June 8, 2012 2:51 PM
    So now the industry moves to kill off an excellent initiative by Microsoft. Shame.
  • -6 Hide
    hardcore_gamer , June 8, 2012 3:08 PM
    victorious 3930kMozilla? I trusted you


    What's wrong with that ? It's still better than IE.
  • 5 Hide
    ddpruitt , June 8, 2012 3:16 PM
    You really think a DNT option will make a difference?
    Look at what Google was doing on the IPhone
  • 2 Hide
    wiyosaya , June 8, 2012 3:21 PM
    Of course the ad industry does not like this, but this is just a recommendation that it be turned on with explicit consumer opt-in. I suspect that there are fewer people who would not want it turned on than there are that would want it turned on.

    So, if M$ is serious about this, they will leave it on and give you the chance to turn it off on installation rather than the other way around. This still absolutely consistent with this wording -
    Quote:
    "An ordinary user agent MUST NOT send a Tracking Preference signal without a user's explicit consent"
    - assuming that this wording is how it reads in the spec, because to not track IS a tracking preference signal, too. :kaola: 
  • -2 Hide
    juanc , June 8, 2012 3:27 PM
    WHY someone wastes time on this? Why should I tell a site "do not track" me. If I say so, how can I know they are really not doing it?
  • -5 Hide
    alidan , June 8, 2012 3:47 PM
    i have a question, does this tracking help pay for websites?

    if it does, i dont like the idea of it being a default do not track.
    giving websites money by doing nothing at all, and probably helping more than a few be free because of it, is an over all plus... at least as far as im concerned.
  • 9 Hide
    Onus , June 8, 2012 4:04 PM
    How about "Do not track, or we'll hunt you down like rabid animals."
  • 6 Hide
    waethorn , June 8, 2012 4:32 PM
    victorious 3930kMozilla? I trusted you


    Seriously?! Mozilla has been in Google's back pocket the whole time. Google funds Mozilla, and then "borrows" ideas to put into Webkit. If this is any surprise to you, then you need to wake up.

    All that Microsoft needs to do is add a first-run prompt to ask people if they want it enabled, and show a big "RECOMMENDED" beside the Do Not Track option, just like they do for automatic updates.
  • 6 Hide
    DRosencraft , June 8, 2012 4:50 PM
    alidani have a question, does this tracking help pay for websites?if it does, i dont like the idea of it being a default do not track.giving websites money by doing nothing at all, and probably helping more than a few be free because of it, is an over all plus... at least as far as im concerned.


    Tracking does not directly help pay for anything. It allows advertisers to track the location of your internet connected device (phone, tablet, PC) and use stuff like your location (and I believe websites you visit) to generate ads tailored towards where you are and what you're doing. So, instead of an ad for a generic car company, you'll get an ad for one in your neighborhood, probably with their phone number and web address. Or in a case I've seen, you can be on website and a Newegg banner add will scroll through items you've recently looked at on Newegg. With DNT that ad would essentially be a more generic Newegg ad about their daily deals or something like that. So no, it doesn't directly bring in any money for the website you're actually on, but from the advertiser's perspective it increases the likelihood that you will click on that ad or head to their site and buy something.
  • -1 Hide
    Shin-san , June 8, 2012 4:51 PM
    alidani have a question, does this tracking help pay for websites?if it does, i dont like the idea of it being a default do not track.giving websites money by doing nothing at all, and probably helping more than a few be free because of it, is an over all plus... at least as far as im concerned.
    It does, but it gets creepy.
  • 4 Hide
    thecolorblue , June 8, 2012 5:11 PM
    tracking is all about totally raping your private online activity so various corporations and god knows who else can make more money the expense of your privacy... cookies that track litterally every URL that you visit and track you over time.

    anyone willing to surrendur their privacy and grand advertising companies the right to database their entire
    life on the net is a fool and deserves no privacy whatsoever
  • 0 Hide
    falchard , June 8, 2012 6:30 PM
    Why would Microsoft care what a bunch of ivy leaguers not related to Microsoft and ad agencies agreed to at the White house? Last time I checked, Microsoft does not make ad revenue. What are they going to do? Sue Microsoft and lose ad tracking in the courts due to unconsitutionality of violating user privacy?
  • 1 Hide
    mitch074 , June 8, 2012 9:06 PM
    All of you have to understand that Do Not Track requires the advertisers' consent to actually work: if it were enabled by default, meaning that no one would switch it back off, advertising companies would simply disregard it altogether and track you anyway. It is, actually, the corner stone between the advertising companies and the browser alliance. The new proposal makes it very clear.

    As such, IE10 turning DNT on by default was effectively an attempt at killing DNT's effectiveness. Moreover, had it kept working (which is doubtful, but let's consider it anyway), it would have meant your browser would be barring you from content, without your explicit consent - this alone would be reason enough for Mozilla to ask for it being switched off.

    Another reason is that most websites on the Internet work thanks to advertising funds - nowadays, the least annoying advertising is done thanks to user tracking; disabling tracking means that you get irrelevant adverts - welcome to AOL.

    Killing off advertising would essentially mean that there would be no more subscription-less websites: only websites that you'd need to pay to get their content, or private websites. That would mean the end of self-expression on the Internet as we know it nowadays, and a jump backward in time of more than 15 years.

    At best we'd get Geocities back.
  • 1 Hide
    pepe2907 , June 9, 2012 12:48 AM
    First run prompt is by far not enough.
    Usually you just update your browser, do not install a new one unless you install your OS from scratch. Most new browsers will just upgrade the old ones.
    And the thing should be actually associated with the user profile, not the browser itself /the software product/ which is not cleared in this agreement.
  • -1 Hide
    jkflipflop98 , June 9, 2012 3:25 AM
    My favorite part is how the people that actually use the internet have no say in any of this. It's two huge money-grubbing bodies fighting over the right to fleece the sheep.
  • 1 Hide
    alextheblue , June 9, 2012 3:49 AM
    mitch074All of you have to understand that Do Not Track requires the advertisers' consent to actually work: if it were enabled by default, meaning that no one would switch it back off, advertising companies would simply disregard it altogether and track you anyway. It is, actually, the corner stone between the advertising companies and the browser alliance. The new proposal makes it very clear.As such, IE10 turning DNT on by default was effectively an attempt at killing DNT's effectiveness. Moreover, had it kept working (which is doubtful, but let's consider it anyway), it would have meant your browser would be barring you from content, without your explicit consent - this alone would be reason enough for Mozilla to ask for it being switched off.Another reason is that most websites on the Internet work thanks to advertising funds - nowadays, the least annoying advertising is done thanks to user tracking; disabling tracking means that you get irrelevant adverts - welcome to AOL.Killing off advertising would essentially mean that there would be no more subscription-less websites: only websites that you'd need to pay to get their content, or private websites. That would mean the end of self-expression on the Internet as we know it nowadays, and a jump backward in time of more than 15 years.At best we'd get Geocities back.

    Tracking != Advertising. Tracking is just a part of online advertising. Radio, Print, and TV advertising don't know your preferences, where you've been, what products you've looked at, content of your gmail, etc. Advertising will survive without tracking, there are plenty of other ways to determine what ads to target where.

    People using adblockers do much more damage to a site's ad revenue. Really annoying ads and popups that make people resort to adblockers do more damage too. DNT enabled by default isn't as big of an issue as the DAA is making it out to be.
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