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

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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  • victorious 3930k
    Mozilla? I trusted you :(
  • dextermat
    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)
  • erunion
    So the industry-government agreement called "Do Not Track" is designed to protect tracking. Surprise!
  • DRosencraft
    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).
  • eddieroolz
    So now the industry moves to kill off an excellent initiative by Microsoft. Shame.
  • hardcore_gamer
    victorious 3930kMozilla? I trusted you
    What's wrong with that ? It's still better than IE.
  • ddpruitt
    You really think a DNT option will make a difference?
    Look at what Google was doing on the IPhone
  • wiyosaya
    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 -
    "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:
  • juanc
    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?
  • alidan
    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.