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Businesses Advertising Microsoft Privacy The Almighty Buck Your Rights Online

Advertisers Blast Microsoft Over IE Default Privacy Settings 558

Posted by samzenpus
from the don't-track-me-bro dept.
theodp writes "GeekWire reports that Microsoft is sticking to its decision to implement 'Do-Not-Track' as the default for IE 10, despite drawing the ire of corporate America, the Apache Software Foundation, and the FTC Chairman. Representatives of a veritable Who's Who of Corporate America — e.g., GM, IBM, BofA, Walmart, Merck, Allstate, AT&T, Motorola — signed off on a letter blasting Microsoft for its choice. 'By presenting Do Not Track with a default on,' the alliance argues, 'Microsoft is making the wrong choice for consumers.' The group reminds Microsoft that Apache — whose Platinum Sponsors have branded Microsoft's actions a deliberate abuse of open standards and designed its software to ignore the 'do-not-track' setting if the browser reaching it is IE 10. It also claims that the FTC Chairman, formerly supportive of Microsoft's privacy efforts, now recognizes 'the harm to consumers that Microsoft's decision could create.'"
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Advertisers Blast Microsoft Over IE Default Privacy Settings

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  • Harm to consumers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Vintowin (1476905) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @07:08AM (#41547425)
    'the harm to consumers that Microsoft's decision could create.'" The only harm is to these business' pocketbooks.. For once I'm on MS side in this matter...
  • Re:Harm to consumers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cerberusss (660701) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @07:15AM (#41547491) Homepage Journal

    If you're on the side of MS in this matter, then you are against the industry effort to create a Do Not Track standard.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 04, 2012 @07:35AM (#41547701)

    I don't really understand what people are crying about. Microsoft has said that they will try to make IE10 better for users and this is one of the features implemented to enable that.

    Actually, their implementation is useless (unless you want to explicitly opt IN).

    DNT is not a purely technical solution. It only works in conjunction with legislation (or voluntary codes of conduct). These rules may either say: (i) tracking is allowed, unless the user explicitly objects; or (ii) tracking is forbidden, unless the user explicitly expresses his/her consent.

    Microsoft's implementation only works in case (ii). The user can express his/her consent to be tracked by unchecking the option ("DNT: no"). It does not work in case (i), though. It the browser sets "DNT: yes" by default, it is not the user's explicit decision. From a legal standpoint, "DNT: yes" becomes equivalent to "unspecified".

    Thus, Microsoft's choice does NOT increase privacy. Rather, it makes it impossible for users to truly opt out.

  • Re:Harm to consumers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by neokushan (932374) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @07:42AM (#41547755)

    Wrll see here's the thing, "Do not track" according to the advertisers doesn't actually mean "Do not track" but instead means "Don't send me targeted ads". In other words, regardless as to your choice of opting in or not, you're still going to get tracked anyway - regardless of browser.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/03/the-advertising-industrys-definition-of-do-not-track-doesnt-make-sense/255285/ [theatlantic.com]

    The advertising group, however, defines it as forbidding the serving of targeted ads to individuals but not prohibiting the collection of data.

    If you ask me, that's the real bullshit move here, not Microsoft's.

  • Re:Harm to consumers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by terjeber (856226) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @07:44AM (#41547759)

    All the people supporting MS might as well just say "DNT opt-in wasn't good enough for me

    This is wrong. MS has DNT as opt-in, and they clearly and specifically notifies the user of this on install. This has been well documented. Fielding is wrong here. Doubly so, since his patch would not only affect the people who didn't opt in (they do not exist) it would also affect people like me who specifically wanted DNT on. As I mentioned in another posting, this makes Apache (actually anyone using it with Fielding's patch) a law-breaker in Europe and liable for massive law suits. If Fielding persists, Apache is in serious trouble in Europe for sure, it would basically become an impossible to use piece of junk. I find it sad that Fielding's ego is of such a size that he can not admit he was wrong, but would rather drag Apache's name through the mud than admit as much.

  • by jimicus (737525) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @07:46AM (#41547797)

    Just a thought - and I appreciate it's probably giving far too much credit to Microsoft for joined-up thinking.

    But it occurs to me that Microsoft own Bing, which (like any search engine) is paid for through advertising. And if the advertising can be tightly targeted, it's possible to charge a lot more for it. It follows that at least one business unit within Microsoft wants Do Not Track to be a complete disaster.

    However, the days when Microsoft could simply not bother to implement something - or implement it so badly as to make it pointless - are over. Particularly as regards web-based technologies.

    So, how to deal with this? Do Not Track is based on an honour system that was only ever going to work if a relatively small percentage of people took advantage of it. By making it a default, that honour system breaks down almost immediately. I honestly can't see very many businesses even bothering to install such a function, much less enable it.

    The beauty of doing it this way is it gives Microsoft the opportunity to kill Do Not Track while at the same time getting positive publicity from tech-illiterate journalists for being "the only browser to ask websites to respect your publicity by default". Win-win.

  • by MitchDev (2526834) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:20AM (#41548125)
    Sounds more like a criminal move on Apache's part if it's ignoring what the program is set for. Whether MS turns it on by default or the user turns it on, Apache has NO BUSINESS ignoring the setting....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:29AM (#41548209)

    Some advertisers would like their servers to use your browsing history to serve ads that are relevent to you.

    I'm sure they would like to do this, but they fail miserably. My browsing history is not a good predictor of what I want to buy. Perhaps a more honest question would be:

    Some advertisers would like to accumulate data on everything you do online in the hope of making some money from this data. They will cheerfully give it to anyone who pays them enough, and it will be used against you. Do you want to allow this? You'll get irrelevant, annoying ads either way.

  • by MitchDev (2526834) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @09:32AM (#41548931)
    You sound like a marketing sleaze with that attitude. DNT should be the default for all applications with users having to opt-in to be tracked. It amazes me how you think businesses are entitled to stalk people...
  • Fork (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @12:19PM (#41550925)

    If Fielding persists, Apache is in serious trouble in Europe for sure, it would basically become an impossible to use piece of junk. I find it sad that Fielding's ego is of such a size that he can not admit he was wrong, but would rather drag Apache's name through the mud than admit as much.

    I sense a fork coming, and rightly so.

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