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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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  • by PieDude (2745317) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:04AM (#41547399)
    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. Note that Microsoft itself owns an advertising network and is part of the advertising committee - it's that much that Microsoft wants to protect their users.

    Of course, Microsoft's actions aren't new. They have always cared about privacy. Their tracking and beta debugging has always been opt-in. This in unlike Google where you often cannot even opt-out, and it's never opt-in in any case.

    Microsoft simply cares about users privacy and advertisers are crying about it. Too bad for them, I say. Advertisers on TV manage to work without any tracking, it should work on the internet too.
    • by cayenne8 (626475) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:15AM (#41547481) Homepage Journal
      Ok riddle me this.....

      Exactly how would this be a detriment to the users?

      Everyone out there that objects to 'not being tracked' for advertisement purposes please raise their hands....

      [crickets chirping]

      • by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:18AM (#41547529) Homepage

        Ok riddle me this.....

        Exactly how would this be a detriment to the users?

        Simple: If browsers turn DNT on by default the advertisers will simply ignore it.

        (They're going to ignore it anyway, so no big loss...)

        • by Xest (935314) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @09:00AM (#41547913)

          It's likely in the UK and Europe that any advertiser ignoring this would be in breach of the data protection act.

          As you have to explicitly grant companies permission to store data on you should this reach the Information Commissioner's Office in the UK it would almost certainly go something like this:

          "ICO: Did the user opt in to tracking?"

          "Ad company: No."

          "ICO: Then you're guilty of breaking the data protection act, enjoy my new powers to grant 6 figure fines."

          The problem is browsers like Firefox have (as is usual for them) chosen to ignore the wishes of users and opt people in to tracking by default.

          As a tool for protecting privacy directly it's meaningless regardless of what the advertisers say they will or wont do if it can simply be ignored. As a legal instrument for making it explicit as to whether someone has opted in to being tracked or not it's great, if all browsers adopt it it may even become legally binding in some countries over time.

          This is one of those few times where Microsoft is actually doing the right thing for end users, though I suspect it's still for selfish reasons (i.e. to harm Google's ad revenue).

      • by martin-boundary (547041) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:37AM (#41547709)

        Exactly how would this be a detriment to the users?

        The browser is running on a user's hardware. It should always do what the _user_ wants, not what some adspamming company wants instead. It's common sense, "my hardware, my rules".

        • by T-Bone-T (1048702)

          I'm pro-DNT but "my hardware, my rules" doesn't apply to the internet, really. I don't get to dictate what slashdot does just because I access it on my hardware.

          • by Elbereth (58257) <krachtm@yahoo.com> on Thursday October 04, 2012 @10:20AM (#41548781) Homepage Journal

            I disagree. I think it most certainly does apply to the Internet. If I choose to disallow Javascript from running on my browser, or I choose not to load certain images, that's my right. Nobody has the right to force my computer to follow instructions that I dislike. This is especially true on the Internet. This kind of attitude was very popular up until the rapid commercialization of the Internet in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when it became subversive (and downright unpatriotic) to assert that these rights exist.

            I don't know about you guys, but I always hated how traditional mass media was completely passive and out of my control. Even with the telephone and physical mail, I was pretty much locked out of having any kind of say. Don't want to receive sales calls at dinner time? Too bad. However, now that I finally have some say in the matter, I'm going to passively sat there while my privacy is violated, CPU time is hijacked, and my storage space is wasted. Obviously, it's the principle of the matter, because none of these are actually all that important. However, I'll be damned if I'm going to give up even 0.1% of my CPU time to some jerkoff marketing guy -- the same guy who thinks it's his God-given right to call me at dinner time, fill up my mailbox, and plaster the wilderness with crass advertisements.

            For every guy like me, there's ten that doesn't give a shit about any of this stuff. They'd sell out their neighbors' privacy for a coupon or free gift. I'm no threat to corporate America. Just leave me alone, and I'll keep my anarchist ranting limited to indignant posts on obscure web sites. Piss me off, and you'll just motivate me to break through my apathy and became more extreme. Hell, I might even vote, if you push me far enough.

      • by kasperd (592156) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @09:48AM (#41548423) Homepage Journal

        Exactly how would this be a detriment to the users?

        It undermines the purpose of the header. Consider those places where websites are legally or morally obliged to respect any user who actively asks not to be tracked. A website in such a place would have been obliged to respect the header. But by enabling that header by default, Microsoft is undermining that obligation. When the header no longer means that the user has actively asked not to be tracked, then we cannot expect websites to treat it as such. And then we are back to a situation where users have no way of indicating, that they do not want to be tracked.

        Actually I think there should have been three possible values for that header. User has opted in, user has opted out, and user has not taken initiative to change anything on his own. That would leave the default choice up to the websites, which I consider better than leaving the default choice up to the browser vendor. But more importantly, it would have made the semantics of the header slightly more clear than a boolean. And by making it possible for websites to really implement either opt-in or opt-out, then we can start pushing for sites to do one or the other. With only a boolean header and browsers behaving differently, you can't even draw a line between sites implementing opt-in and those implementing opt-out.

        But ultimately, this header is just an attempt at patching over a model, which is fundamentally broken in the first place. Cookies were too easy to set when first introduced. Browsers were not working in the best interest of the user. Websites have been allowed to abuse cookies in ways that were not in the users' interest for far too long. By now any browser trying to serve the user better will end up providing users with a bad user experience because of many sites breaking. Had browsers been more restrictive in the first place, then sites wouldn't have been using cookies in the ways they do now.

        Let's face it. Nothing is going to change unless Google, Microsoft and Mozilla can agree to move together. Because they each have such large fractions of the browser market. If they can agree on a new model, which works in the user's interest and is enforceable by the browser, then things will change.

    • by shoemilk (1008173) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:18AM (#41547525) Journal
      I just finished reading the letter and found it disgusting. If you took it out of "the internet" and put it in the real world things like

      By setting the Internet Explorer browser to block data collection, Microsoft’s action could potentially eliminate the ability to collect web viewing data of up to 43 percent of the browsers used by Americans.

      would read more like

      By setting the curtains to closed by default, Microsoft’s action could potentially eliminate the ability to peep through windows of up to 43 percent of the houses used by Americans.

      To top it off, they have gems like this

      A simple example of advertising in the television medium makes this point clear. If consumers were presented a choice of whether they want advertisements on network television to be broadcast, consumers would likely choose “no advertising.” But if 43 percent of American households were removed from the television advertising audience, consumers collectively would suffer because network television as we know it would no longer be a viable business model.

      They're acting like MS is installing adblock and turning it on by default. What MS is doing is making the internet more like TV, where the adds are dumb and have to be generally targeted at the type of site, as opposed to creepily personalized.

      • To top it off, they have gems like this

        A simple example of advertising in the television medium makes this point clear. If consumers were presented a choice of whether they want advertisements on network television to be broadcast, consumers would likely choose “no advertising.” But if 43 percent of American households were removed from the television advertising audience, consumers collectively would suffer because network television as we know it would no longer be a viable business model.

        They're acting like MS is installing adblock and turning it on by default. What MS is doing is making the internet more like TV, where the adds are dumb and have to be generally targeted at the type of site, as opposed to creepily personalized.

        Exactly (I was going to make a similar point).

        Do Not Track is not the same as Do Not Advertise. But properly respecting the Do Not Track request would ruins the revenue stream for all the data aggregators, and would prevent advertising agencies from claiming comparative advantages over their competitors (false anyway, in all likelihood).

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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")

      • What nonsense is this? It's _useless_ because you say so? Let's review.

        Legally, there's no difficulty. If any website wants to know if they can track someone, all they need to do is put up a popup window asking "Pretty please, can I track your every move?". Of course they already do that with all users, right? No? Well, they should, it's common sense.

        Now, DNT is quite useful. If "DNT: yes", then the website should disable tracking, no need to popup the window at all. If "DNT: no", then the user indicate

  • Harm to consumers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Vintowin (1476905) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:08AM (#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 @08:15AM (#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 @08:19AM (#41547541)
        If the industry effort is opt in to privacy then damn right I am against it. If the standard demands opt in only then the standard is wrong and should be ignored and if sites decide to ignore the DNT tag then it is time for regulators to step in.
        • by Fjandr (66656)

          Without legislation, the options were "opt in" or nothing at all. By not supporting opt in, you support nothing at all, because there is nothing mandating the DNT feature be honored.

          It might have been honored if only those objecting to tracking toggled it. Those who don't object to tracking probably don't care. If they don't care, they certainly won't enable it. The move negates all of the efforts of everyone involved in the DNT movement. All. Of. Them.

          Now the only way to get tracking stopped is to mandate

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

            by terjeber (856226) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:44AM (#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.

            • Fork (Score:5, Interesting)

              by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @01:19PM (#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.

      • by Joce640k (829181)

        The 'standard' is without teeth anyway because advertisers are low on morals.

        As soon as the PHB reads that they can safely ignore DNT, they will. Anybody who acts all surprised afterwards is an idiot.

      • "You're against the industry effort to create Do Not Track standard that doesn't change the status quo.
      • by Jack9 (11421)

        > 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.

        Can you explain how a setting that's standard compliant, combats the standard?

    • If the DNT setting is on by default then it's Microsoft deciding in favour of enabling DNT, not individual users. Think about that for a second: how much respect will advertisers have for the DNT setting if it's not a user choice to enable it?
    • by schitso (2541028)
      The harm is that they're not willing to meet halfway. DNT is just going to be ignored if they don't play nice.
    • by Joce640k (829181)

      This is a voluntary thing - advertisers can simply ignore it if they want to.

      So... what do you think will happen if it's on by default in the browsers of the most gullible sector of the market?

    • by Millennium (2451) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:25AM (#41547607) Homepage

      This. The only acceptable standard for sharing personal data is strictly opt-in, and defaulting to do-not-track creates such a standard. This may cause problems for some dubiously ethical targeted-advertising business models, but that is their problem and nobody else's. The Web thrived before targeting, and it will thrive after targeting.

      • by gsnedders (928327)

        No, it provides an opt-out standard. An opt-in standard would be sending a "Track-Me: Yes" header.

        • No, it provides an opt-out standard. An opt-in standard would be sending a "Track-Me: Yes" header.

          Actually, its an opt-both standard.

          The DNT draft standard supports both a representation of an affirmative choice to opt-in to tracking ("0") value and to opt-out ("1") and the ability to express no preference (unset). It doesn't require a user-agent that supports the standard to offer the opt-in option, though (only the choice between "1" and unset is required, offering "0" is optional.)

    • '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...

      No, no, you see, you need to look at this from the "trickle down" aspect of economics. See, corporations are good, you need to give them a lot of money and then they in turn give that to Americans via jobs and opportunities. So the best way for them to get money is to be able to track consumers so we need to make sure that consumers can be tracked. Ideally, it would be illegal for people to own bank accounts or liquid cash and everyone would basically spend their paycheck within a few days of getting it. And they would spend it online and all the corporations would know where everyone was spending every dollar. That way, the money can work as hard as possible for society by being in corporations' pockets. And then unemployment would be really low because there would be a lot of jobs with all this extra money in corporations. Because they're undeniably good entities and they have more rights than you do because you're not supplying jobs to yourselves, the corporations are.

      Why else would it be illegal for you to record every site and place your neighbor visits without their consent but be completely legal and, in fact, desired to allow a faceless corporation to do it? Duh, because we as a completely screwed up society have given the richer entities more rights than an average citizen.

      • That's basically how Karl Marx described how capitalism would evolve. And how Mussolini claimed Italian Fascism worked. And now it's 2012 and the Western world is re-adopting Fascism (in which corporations assume the role of Government).

        Yet there are lots of posters on Slashdot that will tell you they trust unelected, opaque corporations more than they go the US Government, even though their grandfathers fought WW2 to destroy Fascism.

      • by crtreece (59298) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @09:37AM (#41548287) Homepage

        Ideally, it would be illegal for people to own bank accounts or liquid cash and everyone would basically spend their paycheck within a few days of getting it.

        Close, but not far enough. The economy would benefit even more if you didn't even get the dollars in the first place. Instead, you get credit that can be used to buy products from your employer and their official partners.

        This way the company keeps all the dollars, and can use them to improve their products and services without having to show a labor cost on the balance sheet. Usage of the credits is easily tracked by the employer and partners, and the black market for drugs, hookers, gambling, or anything else that requires cash is exterminated. Everybody wins!

    • Except you cannot make it default. Businesses are willing to work with someone who goes out of there way to say "please do not track", but of course that message becomes meaningless as soon as it is the default.
      It is harming consumers when it basically negates this "do not track" setting

    • For once I'm on MS side in this matter...

      It seems that once every twenty years or so, Microsoft does something right. This is one of them. If advertisers ignore the do not track flag, it's the advertiser's fault.

      For the first time I can remember, Apache is very, Very, VERY wrong. I hope Linux distributions fix this Apache bug before shipping. The Apache Foundation should not be imposing its misguided politics onto its web server.

  • by zenaida_valdez (599247) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:11AM (#41547465)

    I like it!

  • My brain hurts! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bradley13 (1118935) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:15AM (#41547487) Homepage

    Microsoft doing something right, standing up to government and industry. The cognitive dissonance makes my brain hurt...

    That the FTC sees "harm to consumers" just shows that the FTC is a revolving door for industry lobbyists. I mean, it's like putting every new number on the "do not call" list, and requiring consumers to opt-in to intrusive advertising. How horrible that would be! /sarcasm

    • They're probably taking a pot shot at Google.

    • I am still not convinced MS isn't doing another "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish". They embraced DNT, then they extended it by turning it on by default which extinguished because the industry now refuses to support it.

      Mind you, this could only be true if MS was a totally evil company that does anything for a buck. Which could never be true of course for one of the most respected software and advertising companies in the world.

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      The problem is that DNT is not only optional to the users, but also to the advertisers. If everyone has DNT, advertisers will just ignore it for IE users. We have a choice of letting the privacy-conscious minority use DNT, or noone.

  • What's truly disgusting here is all these companies arguing that users should have to opt in to privacy. Hopefully privacy groups and laws around privacy will come down hard on companies that try to ignore the DNT. If tracking is so critical then companies should be making their case to users why they should turn them on, if they manage to convince people well and good, but this bullshit of we will only obey the DNT if only a small group of tech savy people use it is just pathetic. It is almost understandab
    • by Fjandr (66656)

      While I agree with most of what you're saying, Apache was being pragmatic. Without laws to mandate that DNT is respected, the only chance in hell of it being respected was if it was 100% user initiated to set the DNT flag. Now that it's not, not even those who might have honored it will now. We went from it possibly having some effect to zero possibility of it having any effect.

      Technological compromise has now failed, and the likelihood of a legislative one is roughly the same as the percentage of campaign

      • by bloodhawk (813939)
        I can see that point of view but completely disagree with it. A half arsed standard is worse than none at all, with a such a poorly thought out standard that advertising know the vast majority of users aren't informed enough to take advantage of they will be able to safely continue to track the majority while at the same time be able to crow about how wonderfully self regulated they are and how they don't need anyone looking into their privacy practises. It is about time this industry was cleaned up. Tracki
      • Apache's job is not to be political in this sense. They should simply implement the standard and let other people argue over how much statutory weight it should have.
  • Just ask (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@world3AAA.net minus threevowels> on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:16AM (#41547503) Homepage

    When you first load up IE10 just ask if the user wants to be tracked. I'm sure 90% will say "no".

  • From the ANA letter signed by companies such as General Motors Corporation, GE, IBM, and Coca-Cola:

    Default policy choices should be set by looking to what is best for society as a whole ...

    So, we should leave it to General Motors Corporation to decide "what is best for society as a whole?"

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:20AM (#41547555)
    It is not mandatory for advertisers to honour the "Do not track" flag. Internet users need to turn the option on themselves, or they have not expressed their desire to not be trackedthemselves, only to accept the default settings as Microsoft deems fit.

    If Microsoft enable it by default, it definitely won't be honoured. If it is only set by the actions of the user, it might be honoured. Now Microsoft decides to piss in the advertiser's cornflakes and expects them to still eat them. Nice job.
    • by Nursie (632944)

      If a significant number of people turn it on, it will be ignored. This is wheter MS does it or the users do it themselves.

      Of course we all know that users won't change the default because they may as well be cattle, but still...

      I see the whole thing as a waste of time. Nobody wants to be tracked. A polite request is not oing to fix anything. Technological and legislative measures are needed.

      • If a significant number of people turn it on, it will be ignored.

        Unlikely. Right now, the choice is "Don't look at the sites which use behavioural advertising if you don't want to be tracked" or "Run an adblocker which cuts the revenue stream from free-to-read sites". With the third Do Not Track option, people can still be shown advertising without worrying about behavioural profiling. It's a middle ground for everyone; Punters get privacy, sites get revenue from ad clicks, advertisers sell stuff through adverts.

        From my perspective, if I found that the system worked as

    • It is not mandatory for advertisers to honour the "Do not track" flag. Internet users need to turn the option on themselves, or they have not expressed their desire to not be trackedthemselves, only to accept the default settings as Microsoft deems fit.

      Complete irrelevant bullshit. Every piece of software ever created, every product ever created, comes with certain default settings. That's how the world works. Get over it already. And if you're Internet Explorer, you're the problem.

    • by terjeber (856226) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @09:00AM (#41547911)

      Internet users need to turn the option on themselves

      They do. When they install IE, they are asked. They can answer "Sure, enable DNT" or they can do otherwise. MS is following the standard. Apache is breaking it. The problem here is that Fielding checked on a pre-release of IE10, and that installer didn't ask. He made his decision based on faulty information and now he can't admit he was wrong. If he persists, Apaches reputation will be badly tarnished since it is Apache not following the standard. Apache users will also be exposed to serious legal action in Europe, where internet privacy laws (probably) mandates the honoring of DNT.

      If Microsoft enable it by default

      They don't. They ask.

  • Older people are the only ones that use ie, older people that advertisers do not target as much, largely because their spending habits are set, so this foe outrage seems suspicious. The only reason I can come up with as to why advertisers would publicly criticize Microsoft (please put on your tin foil hats) is that the new ie has a security hole that advertisers can use and are trying to get their target demographic to switch. Otherwise they are giving ie a boat load of good publicity that may steer people
  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:22AM (#41547579) Homepage

    Advertisers: This is not the "wrong choice for consumers." It's the right choice for PEOPLE. It just happens to be negative for advertisers who have grown fat and lazy using a medium that is nearly free and mostly paid for by the 'consumers.'

    Screw you all. Respect the eyes of the people using the internet. I stopped watching TV because (1) they want me to pay for it and (2) I still get my intelligence assaulted with advertisements. I pay for internet but I can control who advertises as me and I will. I don't owe you a living at my expense. Take a page out of Google's playbook -- give us some actual value and give us a reason not to block you sorry asses.

    So advertisers go out there not saying what they mean, once again. Why can't they just speak the truth?! "It hurts our marketing value." Tough shit. BUILD your market and stop riding on the coat tails of other people creating their markets.

  • How is there opposition to this? Shouldn't "don't track me" be the default for all browsers? How is the FTC against this? Chamber of Commerce I could see... but the FTC is supposed to protect consumers, no? Personally, I think the setting should be inverted to a checkbox that says "Allow advertisers to track my online activities," with it unchecked by default, and inviting people to check it if they want. Let's see how far THAT gets. Stupid.

    I guess it's like the logic that US food sellers use to preve

  • I couldn't be more torn if was asked to vote AGAINST children being allowed to play outside BUT the person telling me to let the kids play outside had his pants around his ankles. And the child is a nazi.

    I mean, who do I root for? The advertisers? Microsoft? IE users? People who don't know how to install ghostery and ad-block?

    Can't we mandate that when forced to choose between two evils, we get another option, KILL THEM ALL!

  • The user community tends to be very vocal in its criticism of Microsoft on all issues, which means that Redmond sees nothing unusual about a lot of people complaining here. Like the boy who cried wolf, if you constantly complain, all complaints get equal treatment. For a company that wants to get things done and not just quit because you object, that means they all get ignored.

  • by jimicus (737525) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:46AM (#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 gnasher719 (869701) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @09:13AM (#41548049)

      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.

      You don't understand what's going on in business. Google is the big advertising monster, the 800+ lb gorilla of advertising. In order to keep their advertising business running, they do their best to throw spanners in the works for anyone big enough to possibly muscle in. Thats' why you have "Google+" fighting Facebook. That's why you have Google apps fighting Microsoft. That's why you have Android fighting Apple. None if these are there to make money for Google, they are all there for the sole purpose of hurting big IT companies who might hurt Google's advertising business.

      And that's what Bing is for, not to make money, but to hurt Google. That's why Apple isn't using Google Maps anymore, to take money away from Google. So no, Microsoft is absolutely happy with Do Not Track and anything that makes advertisers pay less money to Google.

    • I understand your conspiracy post and, who knows, perhaps that's even the case.

      However, intentionally derailing DNT is good for users regardless.

      Even the most vehement defenders of DNT who lambast IE10's default in comments here suggest that it 'advertisers might' respect it, that it's based on an 'honor' system, and that its entire premise is based on 'not too many people enabling it'.
      Advertisers might. Honor. Not too many people.
      That should sound like "never going to work" to even the most clueless of p

  • by realsilly (186931) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:55AM (#41547857)

    In the last 20 years Advertisers have been creeping further and further into our lives and we (the average citizen) have had little to no say in the matter, but now we are finally putting our foot down and declaring "No More". Ad Agencies are upset because of the loss to their cash intake, as well as they are like spoiled children who are being told "NO". They don't like it. The image that comes to mind is the picture of mom saying to her child, "no cookies", and the child stomps, pouts, cries, and has tantrums, and when none of that works, they devise a way to climb up to that upper cabinet to get the cookie jar.

    It's time to get rid of all the cookies from the house so there is no demand for the cookie that doesn't exist.

  • by gnasher719 (869701) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @09:02AM (#41547937)
    This article is severely misleading. The supposed complaints about open web standards violations don't come from Apache Platinum Sponsors, of which one is Microsoft who is obviously _not_ complaining, and you can look at the list and decide for yourself which one's might worry about user's privacy and which one's wouldn't. The complaint is just some mail thread of Apache developers having a moan, where some of them think apparently that privacy settings shouldn't be set by default but should set knowingly by the user (and others vehemently say that this argument is nonsense). And they are _not_ complaining that "don't track" is the default, but that there is a default. And they are not complaining to Microsoft, this is just an Apache internal discussion.
  • by fgouget (925644) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @09:52AM (#41548481)

    So this also says that Apache will ignore the Do-Not-Track flag if the browser is Internet Explorer 10 [cnet.com]. I understand the argument that setting DNT:on without the explicit user consent is questionable, though that's really what 90% of the users want anyway. But how is ignoring the DNT flag of all IE 10 users without knowing whether it was set manually or not any better?

    Something feels very wrong when an open-source project sides not with the general population but with big corporations out to invade their privacy in any way they can.

    • Even if ignoring DNT for all IE10 users is done, it should be done at the application level by individual site owners, not at the web server or TCP/IP level. Apache is doing a power grab here.

  • Ignoring the DNT is a clear violation of the Consent clause of the European Union Data Protection Directive [europa.eu].

    I'm pretty shocked that Apache should go along with this decision by folding in face of commercial interests.

  • it's backwards day on /.

    Seriously, people blaming MS because they actual implement something users want. Going on as if the advertising companies and people who want to track you are some kink of hero against the oppression of people not wanting to be tracked.

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