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back to article Microsoft sends IE9 'do-not-track' tech to W3C

Microsoft has submitted its "do not track" browser technology to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for adoption as a industry standard. The software giant's Tracking Protection technology – unveiled in December and due in the next version of Internet Explorer – is designed to let users of IE decide what information advertisers …

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WTF?

Firefox and Chrome depend on cooperation of the trackers?

So Firefox and Chrome send a header asking not to be tracked. Doesn't this rely on the cooperation of the trackers to not do any tracking? Why won't the tracking sites just ignore the header? The client-side IE9 blocking with an automatically-updated list seems far better. Am I missing something?

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FAIL

Not a thing

Not missing a thing. IE9 don't even acknowledge load requests for "blocked" sites. FF & Chrome's method is to respond, but add a meta tag saying essentially "Here's my info, but don't track me." Don't believe it's not your info? They'll have your IP and the referrer site at the very least.

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HMB

IE9 Vs Firefox 4, Who gets out first?

My bet is on IE9. There's some absolutely amazing standards compliant, high quality rendered, super fast GPU compositing going on there. I'm quite amazed at how much they've achieved.

But...

No javascript history api yet, no CSS transitions and no idea as to how or even if this new version of IE will keep it's rendering engine and standards compliance up to date (mmmm... Chrome auto updates :D )

Oh yes, and one last thing...

Is it me or did the tabs get ugglier?

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insert free advert for IE9

"My bet is on IE9. There's some absolutely amazing standards compliant . bla bla bla ...", HMB

Firefox 4 Beta ...

http://www.mozilla.com/en-GB/firefox/beta/

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Silver badge

Speaking as...

...a Firefox and Ubuntu user I have to say that IE9 looks like the first "proper" browser to come from loins Redmond. I just wonder if this forms part of the "Embrace" vanguard.

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Go

Interesting

This would allow non-geeky users essentially something very similar to putting an ad-network list in /etc/hosts with redirects to 127.0.0.1, which is a pretty nice idea.

MUCH better than Mozilla's "let's hope they won't track us (even if they already have our info) if we ask them nicely".

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MUCH better than Mozilla

> MUCH better than Mozilla's ..

It says in the main article: "Mozilla has proposed a system that dumps the idea of lists and employs an HTTP header. The header has been added to the latest Firefox beta, released this week. Like IE9, Firefox 4 will expose you to the web's ad networks by default until you update your preference"

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FAIL

"Please don't eat me, Mr. Wolf"

About as useful.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Thumb Down

"Internet Explorer 9 is only available for Windows 7 and Vista"

(see http://www.beautyoftheweb.com/)

So I won't be bothering to get it.

I'd rather have an OS with working tape backup system than be infected with DRM.

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Anonymous Coward

nugget

Firefox wont work on Windows 3.11 or even win95 "out of the box" obviously its firefox thats crap and nothing to do with me using an outdated system.

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Pint

no title

"The open-source outfit is taking a bottoms-up approach "

I'll drink to that!

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Happy

Still wouldn't trust it

Whatever wonderful "do not track" methods MS or Moz or Google come up with, quite frankly, I still wouldn't trust them.

All these methods have the fatal flaw of ASKING the web site(s) in question not to track you. There is nothing to stop the site ignoring that request.

I still can not see anything in any of these proposals that beats installing an ad-blocker, script-blocker and cooker-blocker. Oh, and a flash-blocker while you're at it.

As usual, ALL of these new wonderful techniques are missing the point. The point being that they all assume you want SOME ads and you don't mind being tracked SOME of the time.

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WTF?

Hmmm, MS might have it right

Mozilla is asking advertisers to respect a header and not scrape your info as you browse their web sites.... MS is withholding the info altogether unless you allow a site? That kind of sounds more trustworthy to me..... I MUST be confused...

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Thumb Up

Wow..MS finally gets it

MS has it spot on. Any initiative which relies on the advertising network to honor an opt out is just asking for abuse later on. Each country has different laws and it just requires one company to setup offshore where it's legal for them to ignore it and they are fine. Control needs to be at user level with access lists of some description. FF's fix is such a cop out that it's hilarious. Yes a nice HTML header addon asking for privacy while not enforcing it. That will work a treat in the wild west of the internet :LOL

This might just get me to switch back to internet explorer from firefox which frankly hasn't been all that great lately when it comes to innovation. Seems they are taking the easy way out trying to appear as if they are doing something for the community.

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Stop

Hold on....

..the last few paragraphs imply that MS is the bad guys...Oooo you'll have to code for MS, but they are the ones trying to get it stanrdised*, it's the others that are not.

Then on top of that you state that MS are evil because they run ads and partner with Facebook.

Hold on GOOGLE is the fucking largest ad agency in the world and Mozilla is funded (for the time being anyway) by the largest ad agency in the world.

And if I'm not mistaken, it was MS that 1st announced they were to do this, but the others implemented it quicker (same as hardware acceleration).

*Of course so long as the standard is not patent incumbered I'm ok with this.

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Badgers

Might it as well be patent-encumbered?

@AC 10:16

The MS approach relies on the quality of a blocking database. I don't know how big the database will end up being but I'm wondering if there is an anticompetitive angle here. MS seem to be in a good place to compile such a database as Bing's spiders are crawling the web. Mozilla, however, don't have the infrastructure to scan huge swathes of the net unless they somehow build it into the browser. I'm not sure how privacy conscious surfers would feel about their browser reporting the ad-status of the sites they visit back to Mozilla or how Mozilla would feel about the bandwidth or hosting costs of the database. How many open source browser projects would be willing to take the risk of legal action if one of the less-savoury ad companies threatened to sue?

Is this an attempt by MS to build a standard that they think is better or is it an attempt to build a standard that open source software vendors will find too expensive or difficult to reach a good level of compliance? If there was to be a global database that all browser vendors could access free of charge then I wouldn't have a problem with it.

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Badgers

Mozilla's Method

"Once enabled, the HTTP header will be transmitted each time you are selected for third-party behavioral(sic) tracking and the site will be told you've opted out of tracking."

Right I am sure we can all see what's wrong with this picture. The site will be told I've opted out? Right that's going to stop the sites that we really want to stop isn't it. They will just ignore it and carry on as usual.

Googles approach seems to be still allow tracking (no surprise there and yes I use Chrome) but keep one cookie for all according to this article. I have just looked and you can actually set it to block physical location but cannot see anything about ad networks and on-line tracking (except the usual cookie stuff).

So far from this article I like Microsoft's method best. Although I will not make final judgement will I try them all.

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Thumb Down

Hotmail

This is the Microsoft that won't let you log out of hotmail unless you allow third party cookies.

Do Not Track

Do Not Trust

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Stop

Hmm...

Somehow, I doubt any of the three 'native browser' approaches would be as effective as the combination of four existing FireFox Addons: AdBlock Plus (adverts) + NoScript (scripts) + Ghostery (trackers / pixels / web bugs etc.) + BetterPrivacy (Flash cookies). Well, five if you include ABP's Element Hiding Helper (to rapidly kill on sight any ads ABP misses)

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HMB

Better still...

Use carrier pigeon to relay the small scraps of paper with HTML written on it. Can't be too careful there. :P

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Finally, MS get something right

I think the Firefox approach is much weaker than the MS IE9 one. The Firefox approach is like the UKs telephone exclusion lists (which only stop me getting calls from ethical companies).

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Silver badge
Flame

Broken at the start

So this header (once set) says "Please don't follow me, m'kay?" and we're supposed to think that the ad-parasites will respect it? Will they buggery. It'll just push to a higher echelon of target "Prestige, Privacy Aware" or something.

For privacy to work it has to be flipped around.

It must be under the total control of the user (not under the control of those who could profit by abusing it).

It must be on by default.

Anything else is simply broken.

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MS unveils tracking protection technology ???

"The software giant's Tracking Protection technology .. is designed to let users of IE decide what information advertisers are allowed to learn about them during web browsing and internet searches"

That's considerate of MS now allowing us to decide what advertisers learn about us whilst browsing. Fortunately I already poses such "technology", namely a Ubuntu running off a USB device that flushes all browsing activity on shutdown. I wonder if I am violating MS patents by using this 'technology'.

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FAIL

Hmmm

Now all we need is some kind of "standard" for companies called "do not hack".... I cant see how this will really help advertisers or anyone else who will ultimatly not really care what protection you have, they will always find a way around it

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FAIL

Ate my PC

So, tried installing the beta this morning. Required 36 updates to my desktop computer behind company fire wall. Okay, so I installed updates. Required reboot. All but 4 updates failed. Suddenly half my programs dont work. Tried to repair. Re-run IE9 install. Tells me I have to install updates... everything still broken.

So Microsoft DONT learn. They still have a browser so tied into the system that it can easily break everything if something goes wrong.

Also this week: Installed FireFox 4 b10 and Opera 11.x, both of which didn't require any changes to Windows 7 and work like a charm. And Chrome 9 has been working perfectly on this PC since the day I got it.

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Bronze badge
Pint

Denial 0f Savants Attack

I'm surprised that nobody has put out a page of cookie setters which automatically sets the Fortune 500 and then some ... anybody who reads them times out ... sort of like the long gabfest that telemarketers loved so much ... hold on gotta walk the dog, be right back ...

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Anonymous Coward

Milk Soaked Cookies swell up

hmm 1gB cookies.. that could cost em.

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Gates Horns

Tit123ABCle

"is designed to let users of IE decide what information advertisers are allowed to learn about them during web browsing and internet searches."

Advertisers only? so it still sends my google search to bing then?

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WTF?

wtf

It takes a special kind of person to DV a question.

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Anonymous Coward

I Don't Understand This Part

"where some kind of tracking is a good thing"

Can someone please explain?

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Silver badge
Headmaster

Try reading the two words right before that

"advertisers interests"

Ohhhhhhhhh! Now you get it?

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Grenade

Oh so wrong

Ain't it funny how none of the browser makers seems to have considered a default of opting-out... of providing as much info as possible to world + dog.

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Boffin

Will any of these approaches make a real difference?

I think savvy users with strong opinions on tracking will generally find ways to stop it with whatever combination of settings and plugins they find effective. My first impression is that the downsides of these mechanisms will be felt by people like my mum.

My mum likes the Internet and has absorbed enough to know not to click links in emails or download software from pop-ups on web pages. I've moved her over to Firefox but would never dream of switching cookie control to "Ask me". She doesn't understand the technology well enough for me to explain when to say "allow", "allow for session" or "block" and I'm sure it wouldn't be long before I got a call saying X website doesn't work any more because she's said "block" to some cookie it needed. She will be at the mercy of the default (or my) settings. If I didn't tell her then I doubt she would come across the "click here to enable" button for do-not-track.

I don't think any of these approaches is perfect. Google's seems to rely of the advertiser being a member of one of the self-regulation schemes (I'm sure every advertiser has joined... not). Mozilla's tells everyone but I'm not holding my breath for offshore advertising networks to take any notice. Microsoft's system relies on block lists (of which I'm sure the majority of users will just go with the MS default). I can just imagine all the pressure from large MS customers saying "We're reputable advertisers and our model isn't strictly 'behavioural'; We shouldn't be on the default list. BTW, have you met Lisa? She's in charge of our Linux server evaluation project. We're deciding on which OS to use for our next generation platform."

Will these new rules apply if a US company uses an advertising network based in Guatemala? If a US brand outsources its website to another company incorporated in the Camens? To visitors to US websites if their IP address geolocates outside the USA?

I'm just asking questions. I don't pretend to have the answers.

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Thumb Down

It gives me the shits....

It's like being sixteen and gorgeous - and going to a dance full of drunken groping slobbering loud obnoxious women.... Obviously this does not include Sarah Bee.

They are all "at you"....

I thought the deal was - "You come to the site - we put up an add or two, and if you like you buy.

If your looking for the said product or service and our website, product and service is good enough, you will buy.

If not - no deal.

No we have this fucking plethora of nazi arseholes interrogating your EVERY fucking tap of the keyboard, and shoving the SELL - SELL - SELL mantra by the fist full - down your throat.

And we the consumer - have to protect ourselves, and our bandwidth, and our fucking sanity from all these bastards....

Net-pedophilia 101 classes to self protect from the "respectable advertising companies".

These pricks are in the same league as the sicko's sticking secret cameras in the toilets and change rooms.... Peeping toms of the advertising agencies.

Web standards? Tracking op-out's etc...

What about fuck off and a good beating?

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Grenade

Let me be the first

I am going to stick my neck out and say that this is pointless. Personally I don't care if corporations want to build up data about browsing behaviour. I'd certainly 100% rather get served ads that actually interest me!

Wanting to prevent companies (whose products you are getting for free in most cases) from analysing your behaviour to make some money seems childish and counter-productive.

Can anyone explain *why* people object to this tracking? It's not as if the advertising networks are going to identify you personally then laugh at your browsing habits for their own amusement.

ps. I have no commercial interest here, I just want to see the web remain a success.

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