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Microsoft to Remove Default 'Do Not Track' Option in Future Browsers

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Microsoft to Remove Default 'Do Not Track' Option in Future Browsers
Microsoft recently clarified its strategy regarding browser privacy settings, confirming that it will not make the Do Not Track (DNT) feature turned on by default in its upcoming Project Spartan browser as well as Internet Explorer.

The Redmond giant's move means that users will have to manually turn on the Do Not Track feature in future browser versions and it will no longer be the default state in Windows Express Settings. It's worth noting that the Do Not Track feature is optional and it's up to advertisers to decide whether they will regard or will ignore the request.

(Also see: Microsoft's Project Spartan Browser Seen for First Time in New Windows 10 Build)

Microsoft's Brendon Lynch, Chief Privacy Officer, in a blog announced the news and stressed that the move is an attempt to comply with W3C standard. He said, "Put simply, we are updating our approach to DNT to eliminate any misunderstanding about whether our chosen implementation will comply with the W3C standard. Without this change, websites that receive a DNT signal from the new browsers could argue that it doesn't reflect the users' preference, and therefore, choose not to honour it."

Lynch points out that Microsoft's implementation of Do Not Track in Internet Explorer 10 (IE 10) was "welcomed by many"; though there were some who raised concerns. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has now established an industry-wide standard for user tracking preferences which reveals how users express a preference regarding tracking.

(Also see: Microsoft Partners Adobe to Help Build Windows 10's Default Browser 'Spartan')

The blog quotes the latest draft of the standard that reads, "Key to that notion of expression is that the signal sent MUST reflect the user's preference, not the choice of some vendor, institution, site, or network-imposed mechanism outside the user's control; this applies equally to both the general preference and exceptions. The basic principle is that a tracking preference expression is only transmitted when it reflects a deliberate choice by the user. In the absence of user choice, there is no tracking preference expressed."

Lynch adds, "This change will apply when customers set up a new PC for the first time, as well as when they upgrade from a previous version of Windows or Internet Explorer."

For the uninitiated, popular browsers such as Google's Chrome and Mozilla's Firefox also keep the Do Not Track feature turned off by default and require users to switch it on manually.

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