Don’t like the idea of Microsoft, Mozilla, or Google tracking your every move online, just so they can make a few extra advertising bucks? Here’s good news: Microsoft says it will, by default, block Internet tracking in its upcoming Internet Explorer 10 browser.
Microsoft, Mozilla, Google, as well as Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter all love tracking you online. Why? Because it means they can either use that information to sell you something they know you’ll love or sell data related to your online activity to someone who will then sell you something they know you’ll love.
For those who regularly visit Amazon, you know how it works: buy a book about climate change and you’ll be “recommended” a bunch of DVDs related to the topic.
But a lot of people don’t like the idea of having their Internet activity tracked. Think about it — how creepy would it be if some guy in a suit followed you around the mall all day, making little notes in a book every time you picked up an item?
In the past, Internet browsers have tracked online behavior by default. Only when users find and enable the “Do Not Track” option in a browser’s settings will that monitoring stop. (In actual fact, it doesn’t totally stop tracking but simply sends a message to every site visited that the user doesn’t want information related to their online activity collected.)
But now Microsoft says it’s bucking that trend. According to a new report, the firm will make “Do Not Track” a default setting in Internet Explorer 10, the upcoming browser expected to ship with Windows 8 this fall.
“We’ve made today’s decision because we believe in putting people first. We believe that consumers should have more control over how information about their online behavior is tracked, shared and used,” said Brendon Lynch, Chief Privacy Officer at Microsoft.
“Consumers should be empowered to make an informed choice and we believe that for IE10 in Windows 8, a privacy-by-default state for online behavioral advertising is the right approach.”
For consumers, it’s a welcome move. But it could upset the many advertisers who greatly benefit from using this information to construct appealing adverts. It’s not yet clear how they will respond.