Internet Explorer 9 to throw third-party trackers off the trail
Microsoft has announced plans to bolster privacy protection in Internet Explorer 9, allowing users to opt-out of the third-party tracking used by many online advertisers.
According to Microsoft, IE9 will offer an optional mechanism called “Tracking Protection” to identify and block undesired tracking, while “Tracking Protection Lists” will enable consumers to control what third-party sites can track them when they’re online.
“Consumers have very little awareness or control over who can track their online activity,” Dean Hachamovitch, corporate vice president for Internet Explorer wrote in a Microsoft blog post.
“We believe that the combination of consumer opt-in, an open platform for publishing Tracking Protection Lists, and the underlying technology mechanism for Tracking Protection offer new options and a good balance between empowering consumers and online industry needs.”
By limiting the calls to these websites and resources from other web pages, the TPL limits the information these other sites can collect
The announcement follows a statement from the Federal Trade Commission, which last week threw its weight behind a “do not follow” proposal that would limit advertisers’ ability to collect consumer data online.
Microsoft said the new mechanism would enable consumers to limit the information passed to secondary websites that might provide adverts, cookies or HTML when a surfer clicks on their target site.
“Tracking Protection List (TPL) contains web addresses that the browser will visit (or ‘call’) only if the consumer visits them directly by clicking on a link or typing their address,” Hachamovitch said.
“By limiting the calls to these websites and resources from other web pages, the TPL limits the information these other sites can collect.”
However, Microsoft admitted the technology and privacy checks were in their early stages, with the industry still undecided on how to balance user privacy with the demands of the advertising and data collection industries.
“As an industry we will continue to have incomplete solutions until we agree on a clear definition of tracking, how it is and can be done, and what should be done in response,” Hachamovitch said.