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Microsoft's Ad Team Trumps IE Developers' Privacy Aims 149

phantomfive writes "The company everyone loves to hate is after your private information, as the Wall Street Journal reports. The IE8 design team had planned on adding the best privacy features available, but the advertising executives wanted to track users. From the story: 'In the end, the product planners lost a key part of the debate. The winners: executives who argued that giving automatic privacy to consumers would make it tougher for Microsoft to profit from selling online ads. Microsoft built its browser so that users must deliberately turn on privacy settings every time they start up the software.'"
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Microsoft's Ad Team Trumps IE Developers' Privacy Aims

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  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:19AM (#33108762) Journal

    when they have WGA/WPA?

    The article is focusing on this:

    The Journal's examination of the top 50 most popular U.S. websites showed that Microsoft placed third-party tracking devices on 27 of the top 46 sites that it doesn't itself own.

    It's about tracking your movements/interests, harvesting that data and then using that data to advertise to you better ... which usually means handing it off to those advertisers to better target you. And they're not the only ones:

    Many also have big stakes in online advertising. Microsoft bought aQuantive, a Web-ad firm, in 2007 for more than $6 billion, to build a business selling ads online. Google, already a giant in online marketing, in September 2008 launched a Web browser, Chrome, that gives it new insight into Internet users' habits. Apple has launched an ad network, iAds, for its iPhone and iPad. And Adobe last year paid $1.8 billion to buy Omniture, which measures the effectiveness of online ads.

    WGA/WPA isn't going to get a hold of this kind of data. That's a sort of digital rights management for validating Windows, not tracking users with cookies and making bank off of it. They profit when they sell you Windows (with IE8) and they'll profit when you use IE8 on the internet.

  • Re:Business as usual (Score:4, Informative)

    by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:26AM (#33108824)
    There are ways to make all of them launch in private by adding a extra flag in Windows program dialog. For FireFox and IE it's "-private". For Chrome it's "-incognito". FireFox allows you the option to start in private browsing mode automatically by changing a setting in browser. This is easier for non-advanced users.
  • Re:Business as usual (Score:4, Informative)

    by jimbolauski ( 882977 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:40AM (#33108898) Journal
    What you fail to realize because you couldn't even RTFS is that in IE8 EVERY time you run the program you have to turn the privacy settings on, while in Firefox you set them once.
  • Re:huh? (Score:2, Informative)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Monday August 02, 2010 @09:14AM (#33109128) Homepage Journal

    I wouldn't be surprised if the real reason is they're afraid that it would be seen as an anti-competitive move against Google, which is basically just a spooty ad company trying to ingratiate itself on the world with free swag

    "Swag" is actually an acronym for "Stolen With A Gun". Somehow in modern useage it's morphed to mean "free stuff, no gun needed."

    Arr, ye pirates be pissed that yer swag be without risk.

    I think MS is shooting themselves in the foot here. Re-enable privacy settings for every session?

    Otherwise, I see no reason for them not to make delivering ads 10x harder, thus sticking it to the GOOG.

    IINM a lot of their stock is owned by Disney, and they're half of MSNBC. Not to mention their Bing. I suspect they were going to call it "Bling" in anticipation of all the $$$ it was going to raise, but somebody made a typo. But I think Bing is the primamry reason.

  • Re:huh? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Nick Number ( 447026 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @09:38AM (#33109300) Homepage Journal

    "Swag" is actually an acronym for "Stolen With A Gun".

    I'm afraid that's a totally implausible backronym []. There's no mention of any such etymology in these references [], and I sort of doubt there is in the OED either.

    Anytime someone suggests an acronym as an origin for a word which predates the 20th century, it's almost certainly false.

    You are correct that "free swag" is redundant, though.

  • Enable by default (Score:2, Informative)

    by mdsharpe ( 1051460 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @09:54AM (#33109534)
    InPrivate Filtering can be enabled by default with a little reg hack. []

    1. Turn on InPrivate Filtering by hitting Ctrl+Shift+F 2. A registry key will be created: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Safety\PrivacIE 3. Create a DWORD (32-bit) called StartMode under this key 4. The following values for StartMode correspond to settings for InPrivate Filtering: (Off = 0, Auto = 1, Manual = 2)

  • by silentcoder ( 1241496 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @10:38AM (#33110102)

    >I am wary of Google Chrome for the same reason..

    That's why I use chromium instead. All the advantage - with code I can check myself. And many do.

    I can tell you that I was involved with discussions on the FSF's free-distro collaboration group about chromium and we identified a number of potential privacy gotcha's - we submitted the list to the chromium developers and all of them were fixed.

    They were really very cooperative with us about resolving our privacy concerns.

Truth is free, but information costs.