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Microsoft Adds 'Do Not Track' Option For IE9

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the and-who-will-listen dept.

Internet Explorer 179

devbox writes "Microsoft says it will offer a privacy setting in the next version of Internet Explorer that will make it easy for users to keep their browsing habits from being tracked by advertising networks and other third-party websites. 'By designing these sorts of enhancements with privacy in mind at the design phase, we're able to deliver a functionality that provides consumers additional levels of control over what they want to engage in and how they choose to do so,' Microsoft Chief Privacy Strategist Peter Cullen blogged. Previously, Mozilla stopped working on a similar feature for Firefox after pressure from advertisers and other OSS projects as it would hurt their revenue sources from advertisers."

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You forgot the parenthetic on that... (4, Funny)

retech (1228598) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480632)

(except for us)

Re:You forgot the parenthetic on that... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34480730)

There should be a mod category for posts that play on popular opinion while distorting facts.
It may not have been distortion, but if so please provide source.

Re:You forgot the parenthetic on that... (2)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481018)

First thing blocked: google analytics

Re:You forgot the parenthetic on that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34481050)

First thing blocked: google analytics

well, you can be sure of Google not adding any effective tracking blocking to Chrome, it is what they do for a living.

Re:You forgot the parenthetic on that... (1)

windcask (1795642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481116)

Kind of like how you can't use a whitelist with Gmail.

server-side tracking (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480650)

If the tracking is all done on the server side, who's to know if it's a meaningful feature or not?

Re:server-side tracking (5, Informative)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480710)

Tracking done on the server side relies on environment variables that the server gets by querying the browser. If the browser refuses to give those variables, tracking can't be done.

Re:server-side tracking (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480786)

It can be done, by IP address, but it's trickier. People change IPs sometimes, and multible users may share an IP.

Re:server-side tracking (5, Insightful)

devbox (1919724) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480950)

Sure, but that's far fetched from the ability that cookies and the likes of Google Analytics offer for marketers. It's stupid to say "this won't end it all" and think it's better to do nothing. Every bit helps, and this is huge step forward. Especially for normal and clueless users.

Beside, while maybe not relevant for the whole world, I'm currently living in Asia and every country I've been has heavy proxies for surfing. Squid everywhere, you basically cannot get your own ip. And because Asia as a region has billions of users and so few ip's, tracking by ip just doesn't work on individual basis.

Re:server-side tracking (-1, Flamebait)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481500)

Sure, but that's far fetched from the ability that cookies and the likes of Google Analytics offer for marketers. It's stupid to say "this won't end it all" and think it's better to do nothing.

Only the uninformed think I'm stupid when I say these privacy features won't stop the tracking.

Please, educate yourself to the fact that 54 of the top 100 websites use Flash Cookies [scmagazineus.com] (in conjunction with HTTP Cookies). Also take note of the Evercookie and other such fingerprinting systems such as Panopticlick [eff.org] .

You don't have to add features to your web-browser in order to eliminate tracking. I use a VM and a commonly distributed VM image of an OS with a browser installed. Besides the IP address I look just like everyone else using the same VM image. My IP is transient, so I turn off my modem when I'm not using it.

It's foolish to call others stupid when you are ignorant of the topic at hand.

Re:server-side tracking (2, Insightful)

devbox (1919724) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481568)

You quoted what I said but you clearly did not understand it. I know about Flash cookies, user agent fingerprinting and all of those. The point is, it's a major victory for privacy if the most used browser on the planet will enable this. Yes, you can still use all kinds of trickery, but that's not the point.

You can go on and on about it, but what you're saying is like fire department is completely useless because they can only stop 99% of fires.

Re:server-side tracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34481840)

Only the uninformed think I'm stupid when I say these privacy features won't stop the tracking.

Ah, but only the stupid think I'm uninformed when I say you're stupid.

Re:server-side tracking (1)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481772)

All you can do with that is track who(for a given value of who) came to your site and when. I don't really have a problem with people hosting a website knowing that I visited it. It's all this cross tracking garbage where someone like Google knows every website I've visited that bothers me.

Re:server-side tracking (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480832)

The server doesn't need to query anything. Enough info comes in by default to at very least track a household's web browsing in almost real time. Look into it in more detail.

Re:server-side tracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34480964)

The server doesn't need to query anything. Enough info comes in by default to at very least track a household's web browsing in almost real time. Look into it in more detail.

What the hell are you talking about? Care to name some specifics, outside a possible temporary IP address that might mean something, that server side is able to track if client is blocking all client related info?

Re:server-side tracking (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481366)

The server doesn't need to query anything. Enough info comes in by default to at very least track a household's web browsing in almost real time. Look into it in more detail.

What the hell are you talking about? Care to name some specifics, outside a possible temporary IP address that might mean something, that server side is able to track if client is blocking all client related info?

Yeap, I can imagine a number of things in here. E.g. sessionID, which can be passed as an HTTP POST/GET argument, or in the body of XML Ajax requests (as xml content). Granted, this info doesn't usualy survive between two different session, but it is not necessary to be so.

But let me ask you: with the cloud, who needs cookies anymore? Just login into your WindowsLive account and they don't need cookies to track you: what an incentive (by deception) for you - the consumer - to go for IE9. More than that: what an argument for Microsoft to pressure the advertisers to "join the MS cloud and have plenty of user habit statistics"!!!

Re:server-side tracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34481584)

The server doesn't need to query anything. Enough info comes in by default to at very least track a household's web browsing in almost real time. Look into it in more detail.

What the hell are you talking about? Care to name some specifics, outside a possible temporary IP address that might mean something, that server side is able to track if client is blocking all client related info?

Yeap, I can imagine a number of things in here. E.g. sessionID, which can be passed as an HTTP POST/GET argument, or in the body of XML Ajax requests (as xml content). Granted, this info doesn't usualy survive between two different session, but it is not necessary to be so.

But let me ask you: with the cloud, who needs cookies anymore? Just login into your WindowsLive account and they don't need cookies to track you: what an incentive (by deception) for you - the consumer - to go for IE9. More than that: what an argument for Microsoft to pressure the advertisers to "join the MS cloud and have plenty of user habit statistics"!!!

You are saying that voluntary user login with password on some sites is just the same as automatic non-opt-in cross-site tracking of your user habits across web site you happen to visit? As a user of some Windows Live services, I can tell you that it to irritation defaults out to asking you to log in again - in stark contrast to the autologin of Facebook, and stealth "login" of Google (eg. tracking).

Re:server-side tracking (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481852)

As a user of some Windows Live services, I can tell you that it to irritation defaults out to asking you to log in again - in stark contrast to the autologin of Facebook, and stealth "login" of Google (eg. tracking).

Good to hear it... Keep an eye on it, though, wouldn't hurt ;) "it doesn't matter if you are paranoid or not, they are after you anyway" ;).
And, mods, +1 informative please. I admit myself as coward enough not to even try Windows Live.

Re:server-side tracking (0)

devbox (1919724) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481626)

Yes, there are other ways. But I'm a little bit surprised you are actually blaming them to offer users extra privacy...

Re:server-side tracking (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481812)

Yes, there are other ways. But I'm a little bit surprised you are actually blaming them to offer users extra privacy...

Don't take me wrong. I'm far from blaming them for this, but I was taught/conditioned by MS to be excesively paranoid when it comes with their motives. (not hateful, just paranoid)

Re:server-side tracking (4, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480798)

I don't think you quite understand how it works - the idea is not only to keep them from reading stuff off your machine but also some level of anonymization on the net.

Right now the big practice is to put tracking cookies on your computer. Seriously, let your parents browse the web unfiltered and unrestricted for about a month, then do a good Antivirus scan and if you come back with any less than 100 tracking cookies I'll be surprised.

So thats one issue they are trying to tackle. The other one is as you said, what happens when my information is being tracked on the server? That's where anonymizing protocols come in handy. You are never the same person twice when visiting the web site, you always appear to be a new client. As such, they'll never have previous records on your computer.

Couple that with an increase usage of HTTPS possibly built into the browser, and no third party adserver can "snoop" what goes on between you and the server. Brilliant.

Re:server-side tracking (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34481174)

Antivirus scanners look at browser cookies? No wonder nobody uses that stuff anymore.

Re:server-side tracking (5, Insightful)

micheas (231635) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481204)

The question is do people really want the lack of personalization that anonymity implies.

Turn on anonymity and get google in a random language, based on the country of the proxy server you are connecting to google from, or get search results that are skewed based on what you have searched for and to a lesser extent, what has been searched for from your ipaddress. If a slashdot searches on google for boa, one of the top results is an IDE for python. I suspect that for a user that spends most of their time searching for the interests of seven year olds they could get a harry potter link in the top ten.

For a website that makes no personalization, and is just looking to scrape data to sell to advertisers, sure, there is basically no reason not to use anonymization software.

The reason that google gets so much information is that their services work better if you give them a fair amount of information, The fact that they do this quietly without you having to click a million checkboxes is viewed as a good thing by people that are stressed for time.

The viability of anonymization is very dependent on what the user is doing, and which sites they are using. The problems for people promoting anonymity also include: anonymizing tends to be slower than regular browsing (tor, for example); Anonymization tends to be work; Most people, most of the time, don't care about their surfing habits.

Another problem is the lack of awareness that the net is not all love and happiness. For example, most reporters, including several linux focused reporters, first reported that the solution to firesheep was to use WEP, without understanding that as soon as the packet goes out on the net it is at least as vulnerable as an unprotected wireless lan, and possibly more so, as wireless networks are somewhat more unstable due to electrical interference an dpor signal quality on a lot of wireless networks.

I just don't see how anonymous browsing gets traction, unless there is civil unrest NATO countries, or some other compelling external event to make people care about their privacy.

I don't mean to be a downer, but I have watched a lot of not too difficult things never catch on. (https on all authenticated connections, pgp, tor, personalized certificates, and more)

Re:server-side tracking (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481418)

and no third party adserver can "snoop" what goes on between you and the server. Brilliant.

Except if you are tricked to loging on your WindowsLive account. Or Facebook. Or whatever "cloud".
While "inside the cloud", you won't see the trackers - but not because they don't exists.

Wanna bet that MS will offer you the option of "login in the cloud when computer starts"? (if they are not doing it already by default, with a very hard to find way to opt-out).

Re:server-side tracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34481582)

Seriously, let your parents browse the web unfiltered and unrestricted for about a month, then do a good Antivirus scan and if you come back with any less than 100 tracking cookies I'll be surprised.

Honestly, I'd be too worried about discovering something like a search for "exotic redhead 'dragon tattoo' bloomers"

whatever... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34480652)

Haha...how is this going to help when most of IE people are still using IE6?

Re:whatever... (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480702)

"Most" people are not still using IE6. There are some, but they have bigger worries than tracking with ads. :(

Re:whatever... (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480802)

A big chunk of boxes are still using IE6, particularly businesses who are in Internet Explorer EEE version hell, dependent on applications that were developed for IE6 and don't work correctly in anything else.

Re:whatever... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34481836)

Who gives a shit about who tracks those machines? What matters is typically what you do home.

cookies only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34480658)

It looks like it only addresses tracking by HTTP cookies? It would be pretty easy for advertisers to just do the tracking via LSO, fingerprinting, HTML5, etc instead.

Wow, pretty impressed. (4, Insightful)

nametaken (610866) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480660)

I'm a more than a little impressed that MS is going ahead with this. Hopefully this is all the excuse they need over at Mozilla to reconsider their decision.

Re:Wow, pretty impressed. (0)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480700)

Server side. Did I say "Server side?" Yes, I do believe I mentioned "Server side" at some point.

Re:Wow, pretty impressed. (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480826)

This article is clearly not about the techniques you're thinking of, which are relatively difficult, even less reliable, relatively uncommon, and mostly outside the purview of browser makers.

So... deep breaths. Deep breaths.

Re:Wow, pretty impressed. (3, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480952)

Perhaps the other way around? Microsoft realised how dependant OSS projects are on advertising, and tried to find a good way to hurt them? Though rather pointless, as the people who visit sites like Slashdot arn't going to be running IE anyway.

Re:Wow, pretty impressed. (5, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481120)

I'm a more than a little impressed that MS is going ahead with this. Hopefully this is all the excuse they need over at Mozilla to reconsider their decision.

While I like this move, I don't think MS is being truly altruistic about this. They're looking at their bottom line. MS is not an advertiser, and they don't operate open source projects that are dependent on advertising. So, they have very little to lose by implementing this. On the other side, their rivals have a lot to lose. Look at their main rivals - open source in general (in the form of OpenOffice, Linux, Firefox, and MySQL to name a few), Google (an advertiser), and Apple. Allowing their browser to block advertising directly affects the viability of open source projects and affects the bottom line of Google. It doesn't hurt Apple, but they'll just need to find another way to stick it to Apple when they can.

I just find it a little bit ironic that open source communities are advocating for advertising while mega-corp Microsoft is now in favor of allowing users to block it. It seems a little weird on the surface, but it makes financial sense. I doubt Mozilla will reconsider because they rely more on advertising revenue than Microsoft does. I could see Opera or Apple implementing this though, for the same reasons. I highly doubt Mozilla or Google would add this into their browsers, although the presence of AdBlock makes the point sort of moot for Mozilla. I would be pretty shocked if a version of Chrome showed up with this feature though.

Re:Wow, pretty impressed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34481966)

I'd add props too - I still suspect it is probably more aimed at shafting Google & Co, however, browsers remain your free choice. If using firefox subjects me to constant viweing of websites in a default language that is based upon where my IP is, not that which I speak, and constant ads from companies based upon the last thing I may have looked at it:

"Heloo, Advertisers! - I looked at that fucking battery for a single purpose, I do not want to see *that model battery* leaping out at me from nearly every fucking page I view - fucking thing follows me round now like a bad sexual disease, seriously.."

- I'll happily go back to ie - cheers MS, good on ya.

Microsoft doesn't need ads (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34480666)

Sure, they would love to make big dollars on ads (Bing), but IE9 as part of their renewed effort in the browser wars, is already paid for thanks to Windows. Microsoft's privacy policies are superior to most of their competitors. I know it's cool to hate on Microsoft, and it's often deserved, but in the realm of personal privacy a trust them a bit more than I would groups like google or mozilla firefox(funded by google), who's business revolves around collecting your information.

Re:Microsoft doesn't need ads (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480744)

Why is Microsoft even warring over IE? There is nothing keeping people on IE9 except that it doesn't run IE6 content properly; these people won't migrate to Firefox or Chrome for the same reason; and IE9 is essentially a continued run towards "Standards Compliance" that sounds nice and fancy and the next-big-thing but ultimately turns IE into a non-bargaining-chip for Microsoft. They'd have been better off telling users to go with Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, or just shipping IE as a Webkit/V8 browser instead of Trident, or maybe just Chromium with enhanced Microsoft features and de-googlization. Then they can still badge it "Microsoft" for self-promotion but get away from the whole "war" (read: economic drain) thing, since programmers would do a ton less work and thus have time to work on other shit.

Re:Microsoft doesn't need ads (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481024)

For the same reason that they started investing in IE in the first place. Netscape made a big deal of how 'browser apps' were going to turn the PC into a thin client and make the desktop OS interchangeable. Now, FireFox, Safari and Chrome, are going on about how 'web apps' are going to make the browser more important than the OS for the software that it can run.

IE9 isn't there as a browser, it's there to sell Windows. Microsoft doesn't mind if you run FireFox on Windows, except that doing so means that it's much easier for you to switch to Mac, *NIX, or whatever. If all of your apps are web apps, then there is no lock in. This is why the IE team is suddenly enthusiastic about HTML5 - if people are going to write HTML5-based web apps (which, it seems, they are), then Microsoft wants to ensure that they run best on Windows (with or without IE, it doesn't matter to them).

It's the same reason that MS invests so much effort in developer tools. They don't make a profit, but they make it more likely that people will have some compelling reason to buy Windows.

Re:Microsoft doesn't need ads (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481578)

Sure, they would love to make big dollars on ads (Bing),

Can you explain me why the avalanche of "In the cloud" [google.com.au] ad campaign I'm seeing recently? Join the WindowsLive and they won't need cookies or fancy HTML5 thingies to track you anymore.
Does Facebook need cookies to sell your data or expose you to ads?

That's a position? (3, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480668)

How many companies even HAVE a Chief Privacy Strategist? Where do you go to school for that? I can only imagine a Computer Science Degree with a high focus on networking and security - but even those don't always focus on the issues of PRIVACY on the internet.

Can I get a job at Apple as their Chief Privacy Strategist? I know I could totally just point the Safari team at HTTPS Everywhere, tell them to get crackin', get a better "Secure viewing" mode in that browser. Then walk away with my 6 figure paycheck and get a mention on Slashdot!

Re:That's a position? (0)

devbox (1919724) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480780)

I'm not sure whether you think it's cool they have it or are mocking it, but I'm quite impressed. However, I'm pretty sure Google has a similar position and a team. After all, they are huge companies.

As to where you go to school for that; often in computer technology, you don't go to school for a direct title. You get the basic understanding, maybe advance yourself in an area or two and have you own interests, then you get a title (and job) that suits that and your personal knowledge. Personally I never got any real knowledge in school about computers (but business and general things, yes) - I've always gone with what I know and what I've been interested at by my own merits.

Re:That's a position? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481004)

I'm not sure whether you think it's cool they have it or are mocking it, but I'm quite impressed.

It's a little bit of both. When you go to school you have a general idea of what position you want to be in, whether it be software design, server maintenance, Database Admin, Management, that kind stuff. I've never heard of a position specifically on the topic of privacy though - it sounds a bit like one made up in order to have him sound important when someone else with another title has already had that work load.

For example, all matters of Network browsing at our company are dealt with by a Network admin, he handles the firewall, email traffic in and out, password security, yada yada yada. Anything to do with ensuring the privacy of our employees on the network would generally be his responsibility. If he were to dump those responsibilities off on someone else, you could call them the "Network Assistant" or even "Technician" of sorts. You wouldn't call him the Chief Privacy Strategist. This suggests there might be many other privacy strategists (strictly as their job) - and privacy engineers who work sole on implementing the strategies devised.

It just seems a bit odd to have a whole department based on what can really be considered a once in a while feature. Once you stop tracking cookies, and use HTTPS on everything, you've already cut out a lot of the privacy concerns, everything else can almost be ignored. If this was a network engineer, why not just call him a network engineer, who's task is focusing on privacy issues right now.

Re:That's a position? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34481456)

You might be misunderstanding the size of Microsoft. They aren't dealing with teaching dipshits like you how to disable cookies, they're building the platforms the whole world runs on.

Re:That's a position? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34480804)

How many companies even HAVE a Chief Privacy Strategist? Where do you go to school for that?

You go to Harvard, same class as the CEO or Windows VP.

Re:That's a position? (1)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480930)

How many companies even HAVE a Chief Privacy Strategist?

And how in the world were they able to score Optimus Prime for the job?

Re:That's a position? (0)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481078)

I seriously doubt it's a technical position. A "Strategist" is probably considering things like "how much do we have to do to satisfy regulations", "can we get away with this without negative press", "will the extent of negative press damage our reputation", "does the positive press from this make it worth doing", etc. A business position. I don't think they're considering implementation details on their products - that would be further down the line.

MBA (1)

Mr 44 (180750) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481410)

Some details about the guy in his hiring announcement:
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2003/jun03/06-23cullenpr.mspx [microsoft.com]

His background is in the Canadian banking industry...

"Cullen holds an MBA from Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. He is a founding member of two networks of chief privacy officers and is an active public speaker. "

Re:That's a position? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481726)

How many companies even HAVE a Chief Privacy Strategist?

On the same line: how many companies use evanghelist warriors [linuxtoday.com] either? (just look in slightly other directions for increased employment chances, without diminishing too much the chances to have a six figures salary/year).

Early English? (1)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480670)

AE certaeinly hoepe thaet noeoene haed troeuble reaeding the summaery.

Re:Early English? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34480750)

noe, it's a saecret Slaeshdoet cookie.

MS Stands Up For Users?! (4, Informative)

SaidinUnleashed (797936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480676)

Also, this just in, there are predictions for snowfall in Hell, this evening...

In all seriousness, IT'S ABOUT GODDAMN TIME. Someone needs to stand up to the constant intrusion into our personal habits, and if Microsoft is going to be the first to do so, more power to them. If they do as good of a job on IE9 as they have on Windows 7, it will end up being an awesome browser, anyway.

5 years ago, I would have never believed that those words would have come out of my mouth. Of course, back then, WinXP was their offering, and I was a student intern writing Linux kernel code for credit. Everything changes...

Re:MS Stands Up For Users?! (-1, Offtopic)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480776)

Keep your shirt on, pal. Think of the server side. Hint 1 [wikipedia.org] . Hint 2 [wikipedia.org] .

Re:MS Stands Up For Users?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34480926)

Keep your shirt on, pal. Think of the server side. Hint 1 [wikipedia.org] . Hint 2 [wikipedia.org] .

So, they can see your IP (one that most of us get dynamically and changed on at least a daily basis ) and they can see where you came from - of course, for many things, I open a new tab or whole browser. BFD.

Re:MS Stands Up For Users?! (2)

nametaken (610866) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480902)

A little humility can go a long way... even for huge corporations.

They didn't have any real competition back then. Now they have to TRY to keep people, instead of having them by default. We can thank Google and Mozilla for that (among others).

Re:MS Stands Up For Users?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34480992)

You learned about the value of money?

Re:MS Stands Up For Users?! (2)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481106)

I promise you that many people are surprised. I was an XP user after ME, then Vista, then I just said screw it. Your browser sucks and you can't make a decent OS. My opinion changed with W7 and what M$ is trying to do with IE. They have always been a giant, but as somebody stated earlier, that competition is helping them avoid travesties like ie6. At least they are making better progress now

Re:MS Stands Up For Users?! (1)

SaidinUnleashed (797936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481144)

Absolutely, but it's still weird, isn't it?

Re:MS Stands Up For Users?! (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481210)

Of course they are, it's in their interests to do so. They don't make their money from advertising, they make it from Windows - and if this helps sell Windows licenses it's good for the bottom line. Even if this doesn't help sell Windows directly, increasing the number of IE9 users helps decrease the number of people who can easily switch to a different OS, since it's the only major browser that's Windows-only.

Re:MS Stands Up For Users?! (1)

igreaterthanu (1942456) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481416)

first to do so? What can this do that a Firefox add-in cannot?

Re:MS Stands Up For Users?! (1)

uigrad_2000 (398500) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481586)

first to do so? What can this do that a Firefox add-in cannot?

I don't think an add-in is needed. Firefox help teaches you how to set up a whitelist for cookies:

http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/Blocking%20cookies#w_block-cookies-for-all-sites [mozilla.com]

Maybe the IE feature blocks other history tracking devices, such as flash cookies also, but there is nothing in the article that indicates this.

Re:MS Stands Up For Users?! (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481770)

Also, this just in, there are predictions for snowfall in Hell, this evening...
[...]
Everything changes...

Hope the change worked well for you.

Because, a heads up message to you, we are moving into the cloud: we won't need cookies to track the users anymore.

Yours: S. Ballmer

useless! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34480712)

Uhh... I think you're still going to be tracked.

The only way to avoid being tracked is to take control of your own machine. Do not run tracking scripts, do not download web bugs, surf through an anonymous proxy to hide your IP, and so forth.

Anything else and you're just up to the good graces of the tracking party. And look how well that's worked out for email spam.

More Theater (2, Insightful)

SirAstral (1349985) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480732)

This is pointless for systems designed to collect fingerprints of your systems in ways that "iesnare" does. Each time you visit a site your computer gets "processed" and that information is stored on a remote server and shared to all in network servers. There is zero need to store it on your computer because your computers fingerprint will remain static enough to track you anyways. There are so many ways to track and catalog machines its not even funny. This is PURE THEATER designed to do nothing more than make people feel better without actually doing anything to secure their identities or habits!

Re:More Theater (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34481026)

Exactly, fingerprinting is the problem right now. There has "always" been a way to turn of cookies and javascript, but at least I don't really know any easy way to fool fingerprinting. At the moment browser gives way too much information to web server than is necessary to process some stupid pages.

This may have been here few times but I'll put it again. See yourself how unique you really: are https://panopticlick.eff.org/

This doesn't address the problem (2)

Distan (122159) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480734)

This proposal seems to be all about cookies. This doesn't address the real problems of computer fingerprinting and flash objects.

Ideally, it would be impossible for a web server to leave any persistent data on your machine, and impossible to determine anything about your machine other than your IP address and possibly your browser version.

Re:This doesn't address the problem (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480794)

The reason they are announcing this is most likely because cookies are not really necessary for robust tracking anymore, so they can throw both the public and the FTC a stale bone to gnaw on for a few years.

FireFox has a Do Not Track Addon (5, Insightful)

muphin (842524) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480738)

I use Ghostery [mozilla.org] and Adblock Plus [mozilla.org] to stop all my tracking and doesnt slow me down one bit, in fact not having to load all those ads speeds up your browsing.
If websites wanted to make money from advertising DO IT FROM YOUR OWN SITE and dont take the cheap way out, and people relying on generic advertising for an income better get some business sense and stop complaining your not making any money.

Re:FireFox has a Do Not Track Addon (2)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480924)

Thanks for the tip on Ghostery! I'll add that the Anonymizer Nevercookie addon is now in the Mozilla addon directory, version 0.1 mind you.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/260205/ [mozilla.org]

Do not want; ads. I can find a product just fine. Make more noise, and I avoid your product. Pretty simple. Advertising is a waste of time and money, but not people. The people in advertising are just a waste of air and should be sewn together to make a protective CME shield for the Earth. Thank you.

Re:FireFox has a Do Not Track Addon (1)

Unoriginal Nick (620805) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481302)

Ghostery is also available as a Chrome extension [google.com] .

Re:FireFox has a Do Not Track Addon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34481716)

It's Firefox!

This may not be total victory... (1)

craftycoder (1851452) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480766)

But every little bit helps. Users could user a swing in their favor after years of advertising networks chipping away at our privacy.

absurd (0, Flamebait)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480866)

This is just absurd. Who cares about privacy and also trusts Microsoft and uses IE? IE is blocked in all of my firewalls from ever accessing the Internet (and every once in a while that does catch and prevent something that is trying to "phone home"). Thanks for being so concerned about my security Microsoft, but I will just keep and block the current version that you forced into my operating system, for security I'll use other browsers. When someone insists on IE , I "just say no". My bank insisted that I use IE for on-line banking. My new bank didn't.

Re:absurd (1)

trancemission (823050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481012)

This is just absurd. Who cares about privacy and also trusts Microsoft and uses IE? IE is blocked in all of my firewalls from ever accessing the Internet (and every once in a while that does catch and prevent something that is trying to "phone home"). Thanks for being so concerned about my security Microsoft, but I will just keep and block the current version that you forced into my operating system, for security I'll use other browsers. When someone insists on IE , I "just say no". My bank insisted that I use IE for on-line banking. My new bank didn't.

The kind of people who will click 'I like it' at every whim on any site they come accross - and feel safe because Microsoft/IE is protecting them,,,,these are the people who are worth money to Microsoft/Facebook et al....

Re:absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34481102)

This is just absurd. Who cares about privacy and also trusts Microsoft and uses IE? IE is blocked in all of my firewalls from ever accessing the Internet (and every once in a while that does catch and prevent something that is trying to "phone home"). Thanks for being so concerned about my security Microsoft, but I will just keep and block the current version that you forced into my operating system, for security I'll use other browsers. When someone insists on IE , I "just say no". My bank insisted that I use IE for on-line banking. My new bank didn't.

The kind of people who will click 'I like it' at every whim on any site they come accross - and feel safe because Microsoft/IE is protecting them,,,,these are the people who are worth money to Microsoft/Facebook et al....

It must feel so good to feel so superior to other people.

Inprivate Browsing (1)

Deathlizard (115856) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480876)

So how is this any different from Forcing InPrivate Filtering on and adding a filter list to it like you can with IE8?

Is it going to have a constantly updated list like AdBlockPlus?

Re:Inprivate Browsing (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482098)

Hell, I'd be glad if they just stop turning off IPF on new browser sessions.

For those who don't know: InPrivate Filtering is a very cool (but never-used) IE8 feature where third-party content embedded in sites is tracked, and if the same content is used in more than a specificed threshold of sites, it gets blocked. For example, Google Analytics is blocked, because their script is embedded on so many sites. It also makes a decent ad-blocker, since either the ad-embedding script or the ad itself is almost always served from an external server.

You can white-list sites, or even specific content, as well. Google Analytics may be blocked, but Google's JS libraries are not. Most advertising sites are blocked, but ProjectWonderful (mostly used on, and for, webcomics) is not. You can also set the filtering to be manual only; it will keep a list of external content but won't block it unless you tell it to (blacklisting, basically). It's not a true ad-blocker, as you can't proactively block content or block any first-party content. However, it does a good job of blocking things like Facebook from knowing where you go on the web, yet still having facebook.com itself work (because it blocks content when it's external but not when it's from the same domain as the page you're on).

There are a few major failures of the feature, though. One of them is just branding; InPrivate Filtering has absolutely nothing to do with InPrivate Browsing (AKA "Porn Mode"). A slightly bigger one is the UI and discoverability, especially in the current IE9 beta (in IE8 there's a status bar button for it). Larger still is that it turns itself off on every new browser session, which was apparently a policy decision.

Fix the last, and maybe second-to-last of those, and it would be great. Add an automatic updater and it would be *awesome.* You can already export and import your filter list, but it must be done manually (think Opera's ad-blocking prior to the newest version).

so goodbye google analytics? (1)

jappleng (1805148) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480934)

I feel that this is going to be frowned upon severely if they disable the ability to track users. For example, you don't only use analytics to learn more about how your users interact with your site, or who actually goes there for advertisement slots, but you use this data to better improve your site and to learn how you can improve with your own advertising techniques elsewhere. I strongly advise people to stop using ABP or similar ad-blocking service to sites that they enjoy and don't contain obstrusive ads (ie: popups, pop-under, ads that interrupt what you're doing, and even make loud annoying sounds) because when you block ads, you're basically taking and not giving back to the free service you are using. Servers cost an arm and a leg and especially if you have a big audience. Did you know that slashdot has ads on the site? One of them is about WoW and the other one is a IBM ad. Then on the right side there's a Marketplace and google ad spot.

Let's assume that 60% of the users on /. block ads, that means that only 40% of its users see ads while 60% of them mooch off the content. Realistically, you can get rid of a few advertisement slots if everyone saw ads and come out even. So in reality, you may think that you're doing nothing wrong but you're forcing websites to put even more ads up because they need to compensate for the amount of people who can't see them. However there are some websites that cannot create new ad positions due to their layout so that can affect the quality, quantity and even reliability of the site/service. So kids, be cool and disable ABP on sites you want to support such as Slashdot :)

Re:so goodbye google analytics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34481080)

Even Google provides the Google Analytics Opt-out Add-on (by Google) [anonymouse.org] extension for Chromium (yes this actually works), so your point is a little bit self-defeating.

Re:so goodbye google analytics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34481100)

Doh. Fixed url: clickme [google.com] .

Re:so goodbye google analytics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34481154)

Or the websites could just change their business strategy to deal with the fact that as browsers move forward more and more people will be blocking all ads. As users, we may be shooting ourselves in the foot for free (ad-supported) websites, but that's how things work.

I'd rather end up in a world where I'm paying a couple bucks a month for a high-quality website than where I'm constantly closing annoying ads.

And a lot of host file mods already block analytics.

Re:so goodbye google analytics? (1)

newmoov (1952532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481188)

I think you hit the nail on the head. This could be a major thing. It will also kill Google revenue if it its implemented on a large scale. Hmm, maybe Microsoft knows that.

Re:so goodbye google analytics? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481628)

...when you block ads, you're basically taking and not giving back to the free service you are using.

You are free to block users who block ads. If you don't want me to see your pages why do you send them to me when I request them?

Did you know that slashdot has ads on the site? One of them is about WoW and the other one is a IBM ad. Then on the right side there's a Marketplace and google ad spot.

So nothing I would be interested in. In any case if I stopped blocking ads I'd be "taking" from the advertisers by your lights since I would never buy their products.

Of course, I might not bother to block ads if they weren't designed to be annoying...

Isn't Mozilla open source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34480960)

Previously Mozilla stopped working on a similar feature for Firefox after pressure from advertisers and other OSS projects as it would hurt their revenue sources from advertisers.

Isn't it possible to fork Firefox and implement the track-block feature independently? It should be part of the web browser (not just a plugin, that might or might not work in the future) and it would set it apart from the other browsers by it's page rendering speed due to bypassing all the "doubleclick", "analytics" and other cruft.

Or fork webkit,that would be a killer combination.. :)

Re:Isn't Mozilla open source? (1)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481906)

It is, but if you've ever tried maintaining a patch set for a third party application without any cooperation from said third party you'll know it's bloody painful. If said third party is actively working against you then it's just not worth bothering with.

Since this is Microsoft... (1)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481110)

It will have one or more of the following issues:

* It will be defective by design from day one.
* It will be easily disabled remotely.
* MS will share some way to detect it with advertisers, who will then add functionality which refuses to display a page until you disable it.
* It will have one or more security holes, allowing compromise of PII.
* It will be dropped, at the last minute, from the release.

Re:Since this is Microsoft... (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481434)

* It will attract ridiculous speculation on what it may or may not do or be.

Playing Devil's Advocate, and I do mean Devil. (3, Interesting)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482042)

Actually, it's in Microsoft's interest for something like this to work, and work well.

I've mentioned before that I believe this is the best way for MS to fight Google. (Since MS is a software company, Google is an ad company. Why try to fight them with a search engine, it misses the point.)

Add an ad-blocker to IE, built in, on by default (in addition to this bug-blocker.) Single button on the toolbar to turn ads back on, with options for finer-grained settings.

Microsoft can then go further. Allow an opt-in user-requested ad feature, where the ads are served by the browser for participating websites. Users can set what type of ads they want (no anim, no sound, for example), white- or black-list products or companies, and list areas of interest. Advertisers will hate the user control, but because people have asked for the ads, and are thus more likely to trust the network, that increases both click-through and sales, so advertisers would generally pay more. That also means more money per-ad for websites, increasing their participation. etc etc. Users win, websites win, advertisers win.

Meanwhile, if most Firefox users use ABP, and all IE-default-setting users have ads blocked, that leaves only Chrome users to give Google their ad-revenue. Less money means less research, less innovation, more rivals, fragmented market. Microsoft wins.

I don't buy the stated reasons for the feature (1)

jiteo (964572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481134)

Who makes money from tracking users? Google. Microsoft is in effect attacking Google's revenue source.

Re:I don't buy the stated reasons for the feature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34481290)

Who makes money from tracking users? Google. Microsoft is in effect attacking Google's revenue source.

Well, Microsoft is in the same business, but still clearly willing to let users have a choice about the pervasive cross-site tracking that some find infringing on privacy. The irony of how Slashdot react to this is just entertaining. Good is bad, black is white.

from the IE Blog (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34481318)

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ie/archive/2010/12/07/ie9-and-privacy-introducing-tracking-protection-v8.aspx

Shot fired in war between Microsoft and Google (1)

metalmonkey (1083851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481446)

I would love to think that MS is doing this in the interests of the users, but can't help thinking of who this would hurt the most in terms of revenue.

No substitute for a federal do-not-track LAW tho. (1)

schwaang (667808) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481552)

A Do-Not-Track Law [slashdot.org] is still very necessary to spell out what rights users have (over their own frickin' data) and to create a bright line that companies can be clear about staying behind or getting sued.

Of course, I trust Congress to create such a law balanced in the interests of individual citizens about as much as I trust Microsoft to implement this feature with benign intent.

Re:No substitute for a federal do-not-track LAW th (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481932)

Careful what you wish for... Remember what happened when we finally got a so-called "anti-spam" law...

stupid stupid stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34481728)

If anything, there should be a "DO track" button and browsers should be private by default.

HTTP header (3, Interesting)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481738)

How about we just have an HTTP header that, if present in the request, states exactly which tracking the user consents to? No ambiguity, easy to implement on both the browser and the server side. End of problem. At least for users, and since it's our data I don't see where any other party should be getting a say in how it's used.

Will every feature of IE9 be posted here ? (1)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482104)

I do not understand why there is a Slashdot article for every IE9 feature.

Microsoft is very well known for announcing products that were released very late or even never in some cases.

Why do we have to comment on a such a feature, obviously designed to piss off Google ?
And who cares about IE9, when the other browsers are better in every way ?

Instead of announcing every future functionality, to let us believe that they work on their browser and care about us, why not simply release an upgraded browser every few months ?

Meanwhile, Google and Apple release products without announcing them 6 months before, and push their updates regularly.
Does this show once again that Microsoft is unable to push updates to the user ?

Oh, and I'm pretty sure that IE9 will include IE5/IE6/IE7/IE8 rendering engines à la DirectX, for old sites' compatibility.

Hey, Microsoft, we are in 2010 !

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