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Advertisers Blast Microsoft Over IE Default Privacy Settings 558

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 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 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 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.

  • 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 Sanity ( 1431 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @09:04AM (#41547949) Homepage Journal

    Because it renders "Do Not Track" useless. Apache is already ignoring Do Not Track if it detects that you are using IE10. It's a boneheaded move on Microsoft's part.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @09:10AM (#41547999) Journal
    I haven't used Windows for a few years, but from reading articles on the subject I was under the impression that the user was presented with a dialog the first time they run IE10 asking if they wish to enable the header. The advertisers' complaint seems to be more that it's easy to enable in IE10, whereas other browsers require you to hunt in menus or in settings.
  • 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 []. 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.

  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @10:41AM (#41549041)

    The only problem I see with MS's actions is that, according to some other posts here, the standard says that DNT must be non-default. So by making it default, they're breaking the standard. I'm all for not-tracking, but if everyone's agreed to a certain standard and that it must be implemented a certain way, then they should follow that or else try to get it changed (good luck).

    Seems to me that MS could get around this by having something in Windows that pops up the first time someone starts up IE, which asks them "do you want to enable Do Not Track?", with the "No" box being checked by default, but forcing the user to click "OK" to select this, and allowing them to select the "Yes" box first if they want.

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham