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Microsoft Wins Congressional Backing For Do-Not-Track Default In IE10

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the crazy-pills-have-not-yet-worn-off dept.

Microsoft 147

An anonymous reader writes "Thought Do Not Track was strictly a geeks' issue? Think again. After Microsoft was slapped down for enabling DNT by default in Internet Explorer 10, the co-chairs of the US's Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus have sent a strongly-worded letter to the W3C urging it to reconsider. As webdev360.com points out, it's an interesting (unprecedented?) example of Congress interacting with the standards body: 'Whether members of the [working group] will take kindly to the Representatives' interference remains to be seen. Ed Markey's legislative director, Joseph Wender, has brought the letter to the attention of the group's mailing list, but, as of the time of writing, he hasn't received any replies.'"

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Those are some serious consequences (4, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#40383845)

If they don't change their ways, they may get another strongly worded letter about it!

Re:Those are some serious consequences (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384069)

That reminds me of one of my favorite theater comedies, where a modern schoolteacher talks to a stuck-in-time group of medieval knights about the contemporary (19th century) political events:

Teacher: "We sent the Emperor a strongly-worded petition."
Knight: "What is 'a petition'?"
Teacher: "It's a kind of a plea."
Knight (talking to himself, writing it down into a diary): "They sent the Emperor a strongly-worded plea."

Re:Those are some serious consequences (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40387207)

What comedy is that from?

Re:Those are some serious consequences (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40384077)

If Congress cares about this issue, they should pass a law: "Do Not Track"

Re:Those are some serious consequences (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384477)

Let me guess who they'll exempt.

1. Themselves
2. Anyone associated with the government.

So why bother.

Re:Those are some serious consequences (1)

CimmerianX (2478270) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385201)

Don't forget...
3) Super-Pacs / Political Advertisers
4) Non-profits and charity

Re:Those are some serious consequences (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40385271)

That may not be all, especially considering how ignorant people are.

I would be greatly surprised if one poster on this site mentions the enumerated powers in the Federal constitution, and the lack of any authority over internet browsing.

Re:Those are some serious consequences (2)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386157)

If they don't change their ways, they may get another strongly worded letter about it!

I suppose that's fitting, given that Do Not Track is absolutely nothing more than a strongly^W weakly worded letter anyway.

Everything surrounding the feature is a complete joke, from Mozilla introducing it in the first place to people who think it will really make even a small difference. Do Not Track is absolutely the same as walking around a bad neighborhood with a Do Not Mug sign hanging around your neck. It will not work.

For everyone babbling about "if everyone does it then advertisers won't respect it!", stop and think about what you're saying. If it can't work for everyone then it isn't really working for anyone. As far as I'm concerned, kudos goes to Microsoft for this move. Either they realize the stupidity of the header and are making a point or they are just blundering about and raising the issue by accident.

We already have an opt-in do-not-track feature that actually works -- it's called AdBlock, NoScript, etc, etc. Do Not Track is really nothing more than a PR stunt by those pushing it — not even worth the 6 bytes it takes to send it on each HTTP request.

Do Not Track for Windows Update (0, Flamebait)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 2 years ago | (#40383873)

Maybe MS can disclose just how much tracking they do everytime a Windows installation phones home for Windows Update.

Re:Do Not Track for Windows Update (5, Informative)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384087)

While playing closed-minded open-source Microsoft-bashing zealot on Slashdot is, in the eyes of many here, a route to being cool -- if you want to know, you could always use Google, Bing, or just run Fiddler and look for yourself.

The protocol is fully documented by Microsoft and not hard to find if you have some keyword ninja skills and a search engine.

Re:Do Not Track for Windows Update (1)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384297)

Re-read my post. It's not what is being sent, it is what's being kept and tracked.

Re:Do Not Track for Windows Update (4, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384719)

Re-read my post. It's not what is being sent, it is what's being kept and tracked.

Look at the protocol. They can't keep more than is in there.

Re:Do Not Track for Windows Update (2)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386647)

Which is way more than what your cookies gives away, including your complete list of software installed, MS specific information on licensing, and other bits of information which gives Microsoft the ability to track you via the IP address used to contact the Windows Update servers.

So how much of this is being kept, and for how long? Would you care to share?

Re:Do Not Track for Windows Update (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384991)

Microsoft may have certain patents on business models that will be enhanced in value if freewheeling competitive models are squelched.

I hate to be cynical, but corporations rent-seeking to hamper competition is the problem, not the solution.

if they care about it so much (5, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40383875)

why don't they make it into a law that you have to have a "TRACK ME PLEASE" cookie for it to be legal to track your flow through multiple domains..

Re:if they care about it so much (4, Informative)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384011)

Mozilla discussed that DNT would have no value if enabled by default -- https://blog.mozilla.org/privacy/2011/11/09/dnt-cannot-be-default/ [mozilla.org]

Frankly, it becomes meaningless if we enable it by default for all our users. Do Not Track is intended to express an individual’s choice, or preference, to not be tracked. It’s important that the signal represents a choice made by the person behind the leopard and not the software maker, because ultimately it’s not Firefox being tracked, it’s the user.

Microsoft will undermine DNT if they enable it for everyone.

Re:if they care about it so much (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40384091)

Perhaps most people do not want to tracked? If people want to be tracked, let them opt in.

Re:if they care about it so much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40384931)

I'll argue the reverse. Life is competition. We compete with others for resources and, in today's consumer market, for "stuff". If some people aren't smart enough, don't care enough, etc. to turn on DNT - well that keeps web services cheaper for those of us that do turn it on. If the advertisers are getting quality demographics, market segmentation, etc. from the vast majority of folks then the people here - who know better - can continue to get free web sites. If nobody was tracked then we'd have to pay for our sites. Simple enough. Let the herd be tracked. Those that care and those that know will turn on the DNT.

Re:if they care about it so much (4, Informative)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385299)

it is 100% optional to follow the "Do not track" flag. If it's on by default it'll be ignored by default. If it's only on by a % of people that care then it will have a better chance of being followed.

Re:if they care about it so much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40385989)

I know congress can't legislate the world, but they can make your life difficult if you do business in the US. If it's on by default and has force of law behind it, then you'd better follow directions.

Re:if they care about it so much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40387463)

Advertisers will ignore DNT settings regardless of whether they are the default or not. If they have a choice, they will always choose to track people because that is how they make their money.

Re:if they care about it so much (1, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386305)

This isn't the usual opt-in vs opt-out issue. DNT is explicitly trinary: yes/no/didn't_say. DNT is itself just a form of communication, not a policy imposed upon advertisers (yet).

If you default people to DNT:1 without asking them, you are actually undermining DNT for people who did actually want to answer Yes.

For Christmas, would you like

  1. A large lump of coal
  2. A smaller lump of coal and some x-ray specs (this is the default, and what you'll get if you don't answer)
  3. A hovercraft

?
You're saying everyone should get a hovercraft unless they opt into a large lump of coal. Not only does that rule out anyone getting x-ray specs, but the increased hovercraft demand means the hovercrafts are going to be more expensive, so we're either not going to really get them (shit, I should have chosen the coal!), or they're going to be lamer than they would have been, if only the kids who wanted them got them.

Please don't screw over the kids who really want a hovercraft, so much that they're actually willing to take 3 seconds of mouse clicking to tell Santa.

DO we care? (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386571)

Perhaps most people do not want to tracked? If people want to be tracked, let them opt in.

On the street, everyone says they want fair government. In the voting booth, everyone says they don't care.

On the street, everyone says they don't want to be tracked. In the preferences window, everyone says they don't care.

When you say most people do not want to be tracked, I just don't know whether or not to believe you. You understand my confusion, don't you?

My fellow Americans, you have public and informal passion, yet you have private and formal apathy. Weird. I thought we were all trying to act cool and unconcerned on the outside while secretly harboring inner terror and desperation. WTF. Am I doing everything backwards, or are you?

Re:if they care about it so much (3, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384113)

Mozilla discussed that DNT would have no value if enabled by default

Mozilla, who gets about 90% of their income [computerworld.com] from Google, sides with Google on this one?!? What a shocker!!

Re:if they care about it so much (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385471)

No, they're right on this one. No on is required to implement Do Not Track (advertisers could choose to ignore it). Right now they're going along with it for PR reasons, because it doesn't really cost them anything (people who click "Do Not Track" wouldn't click their ads anyway). However, it everyone sends DNT headers, how make ad companies will willingly support that?

Like other people have mentioned -- if Congress wants DNT as the default, it needs to be required by law. Otherwise, making it the default means making it meaningless.

Re:if they care about it so much (1)

MacDork (560499) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386063)

Like other people have mentioned -- if Congress wants DNT as the default, it needs to be required by law. Otherwise, making it the default means making it meaningless.

Yeah, and getting a law passed in the US is like impossible man. What group of people could do that?

I generally have zero trust in MS, but I applaud [photobucket.com] them on this move. Whether it pans out or not, you have my most sincere thanks for the effort Microsoft.

Re:if they care about it so much (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40387501)

They're half right. The problem is that most people who use a web browser will never open the preferences panel, so will not know that it's set. If, on first launch, it asked 'do you want to be tracked [yes / no]' then that would make more sense.

Re:if they care about it so much (1)

hendridm (302246) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386375)

Although they have obvious bias, I believe that they are right on this one. On by default, ignored by default.

Re:if they care about it so much (1)

kaunio (125290) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384119)

Frankly, it becomes meaningless if we enable it by default for all our users. Do Not Track is intended to express an individualâ(TM)s choice, or preference, to not be tracked. Itâ(TM)s important that the signal represents a choice made by the person behind the leopard and not the software maker, because ultimately itâ(TM)s not Firefox being tracked, itâ(TM)s the user.

I wonder what's behind that reasoning from Mozilla.

It's not like it would be very complicated to make a feature in the browser to pop up a question whether the user want to be tracked or not and save the answer.

Given the release rate of Firefox they should be able to have it out by Tuesday.

Re:if they care about it so much (2)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384815)

No, more like enabling it by default will undermine their revenue stream from Google. There is no good reason why being tracked should be the default other than to please ad companies.

Re:if they care about it so much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40384995)

Unless congress actually backs Microsoft on this. They could easily create a law that says companies in the US that track people must honor DNT.

Re:if they care about it so much (1)

Deathlizard (115856) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385011)

Does Mozilla Prompt the user to make that choice on initial setup? Nope. They're expecting users to know that there is an option to not track.

Frankly, what MS should do (as well as any other browser for that matter) is ask when you first install IE10 if you want to turn DNT on with the default being off. It will give Ad firms the off as default setting they want from browsers as well as give Microsoft the result they want (DNT On for the majority of users) since I'd bet that anyone that reads it will click the checkmark.

Re:if they care about it so much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40385283)

It's amazing that you swallow this bizarre lie from Mozilla. Of course Do Not Track has meaning if it's on by default, but that outcome is undesirable to Mozilla.

Microsoft will undermine the online advertisers that profit off of us, not Do Not Track.

Re:if they care about it so much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40386677)

.... except for the fact that they can't opt out of something if they have no idea it's happening in the first place. If I'm monitoring your daily movements, but you don't know I'm doing it, you know that you need to tell me to stop? Better yet, you find out and get upset that I was doing it and I smugly say to you "Hey you could have opted out.". El Oh El?

Not surprised to see comments like the above from FireFox. While not as bad as their buddies at Google, still bad all the same.

Re:if they care about it so much (5, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384147)

You're looking at it the wrong way. If they say "On by default" for do not track, then do not track will be ignored by tracking advertisers. Adhering to it is not mandatory. This is what they want, so they can get your personal info from private entities with nothing more than imposing logos on headed paper and some threats involving the words "could" "might" and "potentially".

FTC - Google - Safari (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384237)

If they say "On by default" for do not track, then do not track will be ignored by tracking advertisers. Adhering to it is not mandatory.

While there were some finer points to the case, how does all that fit in with the FTC investigating Google's 'circumventing' of Safari's 'privacy' options?

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/12/05/04/2156218/google-facing-ftc-fine-over-safari-privacy-breach [slashdot.org]

Re:if they care about it so much (1, Troll)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384155)

Because then 80% of the internet websites you love to see for free will cease to exist as their advertising revenue stream dies. I'm sure you'll have no problems paying for all those sites, right? Just like slashdot users just loved it when the NY Times put up a paywall.

Re:if they care about it so much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40384233)

I seriously doubt that would happen.

Advertisers don't need to track people to advertise. Just look at the demographic of the people reading the site and aim towards that. Tracking just gives them the impression they will make more money.

Even it it did happen, what it is likely to do is discourage a lot of the rubbish sites (you know those ones with the in-your-face advertising - popups, etc). Is that bad?

Re:if they care about it so much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40384281)

Because then 80% of the internet websites you love to see for free will cease to exist as their advertising revenue stream dies. I'm sure you'll have no problems paying for all those sites, right? Just like slashdot users just loved it when the NY Times put up a paywall.

Not correct. You certainly can have advertising and advertising revenue without going to increasingly more targeted data mining of the users [cnet.com] .

Re:if they care about it so much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40384337)

Did it become a do not advertise instruction at some point or am I missing something. You would not lose anything. It would just be not targeted. Advertisers would till have to advertise.

Re:if they care about it so much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40384801)

Advertisers pay higher rates for more targeted advertising.

So rates would go down, but ads would have to go up because they'd be less effective.

Advertisers would be mad, websites would make about the same.

Re:if they care about it so much (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385711)

Advertisers pay higher rates for more targeted advertising.

So rates would go down, but ads would have to go up because they'd be less effective.

Advertisers would be mad, websites would make about the same.

Ads don't increase the amount consumers spend - they influence consumers choice of where that money goes. If each ad is individually less effective, the balance is maintained and advertising's total effectiveness won't change. If each ad is individually more effective, the balance is maintained but we've taken probably the most important step to a totalitarian state, since this tracking data is a candy shop for the government. It's an arms race that provides no net benefit and your privacy is the cost.

Re:if they care about it so much (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384957)

Advertising in no way requires tracking. Stop being such an obtuse douche.

Re:if they care about it so much (1)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384359)

And to make sure non-techies don't accidentally opt-in, require a registry hack and a self generated salted hash. Why is the bad stuff "easy" while it's "difficult" to maintain privacy?

Re:if they care about it so much (1)

kermidge (2221646) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385791)

Why not use ghostery and use browsers' built-in cookie settings?

Do Not Track, Do No Evil, they're all the same. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40383913)

While I applaud MS for their privacy efforts, I am cynical, and I largely see this as a marketing move on their behalf. They've seen how Google has copped some flak over privacy concerns, and it's obvious they want to position themselves as the privacy-respecting alternative. But I have no doubt that if Bing and Microsoft's cloud services become as popular as Google's, they will mine every last bit of data they can get their hands on.

They're all as bad as each other, says I.

Re:Do Not Track, Do No Evil, they're all the same. (0)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384023)

I don't give a shit why they're doing it. I'm just glad *someone* is.

I mean, WTF, the W3C is *opposed* to this?!?!? Did Google bribe them or something?

Re:Do Not Track, Do No Evil, they're all the same. (5, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384157)

If it's the default, there will be virtually noone who turns it off...
Those who care about privacy will leave it on, those who don't care won't even realise the option exists.
Subsequently, advertisers will ignore it because it becomes fairly meaningless, and not ignoring it would lose them potential eyeballs who don't care about being tracked. So the feature just becomes worthless.

On the other hand, if its off by default then only those who care about privacy will turn it on. Advertisers are quite happy to lose these eyeballs, as these people would generally not respond to advertising anyway. Everyone wins.

The whole purpose of the DNT header is to allow users to make a statement of "I do not want to be tracked", but if you make it the default it will just be a statement of "I have probably not bothered to change the default settings and most likely don't even realise such settings exist"

Re:Do Not Track, Do No Evil, they're all the same. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40384531)

Websites will display a message that says you have to turn off the Do Not Track option on Internet Preferences and most people will do it, just like they download and install Shlockwave.

Re:Do Not Track, Do No Evil, they're all the same. (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384663)

On the other hand, if its off by default then only those who care about privacy and know about this option will turn it on.

There, fixed that for you.

The people who know about this option are those that know how to install Adblock or Noscript in the first place.
So the as long as DNT is not on by default, it hardly makes any difference for the advertisers, but they can claim that they respect the wishes of the users.

Meaning if DNT is off by default it is mostly meaningless.

Re:Do Not Track, Do No Evil, they're all the same. (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384819)

Is it so hard to pop up a dialog that requires the user to make a choice?

W3C? (0)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#40383967)

Why the fuck would the W3C care about this feature in a browser?

Re:W3C? (2)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385485)

Because their job is to help standardize browser features?

Why did W3C oppose this to begin with?!?!? (2)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40383993)

Does anyone have any idea why the W3C opposed this? It seems like a no-brainer.

Never thought I would stand with MS over the W3C, but there you have it.

Re:Why did W3C oppose this to begin with?!?!? (5, Informative)

FearTheDonut (2665569) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384039)

They're opposed to it, because it is perceived that if "Do Not Track" is the default, advertising companies would simply ignore the setting and track people anyway.

Re:Why did W3C oppose this to begin with?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40384141)

So we make a law to force companies to respect the DNT header.

Re:Why did W3C oppose this to begin with?!?!? (1)

FearTheDonut (2665569) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384269)

That, my friend, would be called government regulation of the internet by the advertising industry. I can't see a law like this actually passing the House, after the lobbyists confer with their "investments."

Re:Why did W3C oppose this to begin with?!?!? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40384385)

Pointless argument, if advertisers don't ignore DNT in the first place they will definitely start doing so as soon as it puts a dent in their statistics, default or not.

So long as there is absolutely no penalty for ignoring it, nobody will honor it.

Re:Why did W3C oppose this to begin with?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40384585)

That's stupid. If I were the W3C, I'd oppose it because it doesn't make sense to have one standard that says:
  - Here is how to provide sessions information to those who request it
and another standard that says:
  - Here is how to indicate that you would not like the previous standard to be used when it is implemented.

If you don't like the first standard, the solution is "don't implement that standard", not "add something else on top to indicate that you didn't really mean it when you implemented the first standard, but really can't be bothered to deactivate that part now"

If DNT can be ignored... (1)

zarlino (985890) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384839)

then the spec is worse than useless. I admit I did not read it. My current understanding is this is just a stupid cookie.

I have a better proposal. Why not make it easier for users to block "third-party" cookies, i.e. cookies sent from domains different from the current page domain. *That* would block advertisers from tracking you. Also, a javascript hook triggering a nice UI for OpenId sites to ask users if they want to whitelist them for login purposes.

Re:If DNT can be ignored... (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385687)

Hah. Mozilla can't even seem to land THAT basic functionality. After 14 versions, I still get two dozen (no hyperbole) "Confirm Setting Cookie" prompts for the same goddamn cookie, even when I check the "use my choice for all cookies from this site" box.

"Oh, I thought you meant all the OTHER cookies. Tee hee!"

Derp.

Re:If DNT can be ignored... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40386017)

I whitelist cookies, and I can tell you that if you access many websites, you are getting cookies from half a dozen sites.

Many times, cookies from multiple sites are needed to function. For some sites, one site will do the authentication and a completely different site do all of the session. Not to mention their "partners".

Firefox is probably working exactly right, but without you linking to a site, I can't know for sure.

Whitelisting is more convenient BTW, since you don't get those nags, so you can always enable cookies if you actually need them.

Re:If DNT can be ignored... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40386717)

You might also want to try:
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/cookie-monster/ [mozilla.org]

Although having never used it, I have no idea how it handles sites that set cookies for half a dozen domains.

Re:If DNT can be ignored... (2)

BZ (40346) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386089)

Look, all specs can always be ignored by an implementation. The only things preventing that are actual legislation to the contrary, public embarrasment, and desire for interoperability.

The third of these is not an issue here. Making DNT default undermines the second (because it becomes easier for advertisers to justify ignoring it in the court of public opinion). So unless there's motion on the first option (legislation), making DNT default just reduces its usefulness.

Re:Why did W3C oppose this to begin with?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40384105)

I don't know about the W3C, but the reason I oppose this is because it's done server-side and hence it relies on you trusting a organisation which you have no control over.

The _only_ way to reliably implement this is client-side, ie: on the machine you control. If you are been tracked server-side when the organisation claims you are not, you have no real way of discovering that.

Re:Why did W3C oppose this to begin with?!?!? (1)

firewrought (36952) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385197)

Does anyone have any idea why the W3C opposed this? It seems like a no-brainer.

DNT requires the cooperation of advertisers to work. So think thru this from an advertiser's perspective: if DNT is enabled everywhere by default, that cuts my business off at the knees and I have no more reason to respect DNT than I do all the people who say "pretty-please-don't-track-me". OTOH, if DNT is only enabled by the ~5% of people who cared enough to take the extra 10 seconds to turn it off, than maybe I should respect DNT to avoid future lawsuits/legislation/villification writ large.

DNT is not a technological solution, it's a social bargaining. And the negotiation doesn't work unless users express an individual choice to not be tracked. The real question is: why does Microsoft wish to f*ck up this standard? Most likely they wish to punish/ensnare Google (who will be under more pressure than most to respect DNT). But the practical consequence will be to make DNT useless (hopefully just on IE10, but possibly everywhere).

Re:Why did W3C oppose this to begin with?!?!? (2)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386411)

Does anyone have any idea why the W3C opposed this?

To encourage sites that track users to voluntarily respect DNT: if it is on by default, no one will respect it server side. If it is an active choice of the user, there is better chance at gaining support from advertisers and others who track user data, who almost universally oppose opt-out DNT (which equates to opt-in tracking), but generally are willing to accept opt-in DNT (which equates to opt-out tracking.)

Its interesting to note that while MS-the-browser-vendor has instituted DNT-by-default, MS-the-user-tracker doesn't support DNT on their websites. So, in effect, DNT-by-default serves to create a competitive advantage for MS (as a user-tracking firm) over firms that do respect DNT, and creates a disincentive for other user-tracking firms to adopt DNT (and an incentives for those that do to stop.)

It seems like a no-brainer.

If you are in Microsoft's position and Google has already started respecting DNT and want to create a short-term competitive advantage, its a no-brainer.

If you actually want to encourage widespread respect for DNT and drive its adoption on the back end where it matters, not so much.

What the fuck? (5, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 2 years ago | (#40383997)

Unless they're planning on adding the force of law to the DNT bit, all this will do is make advertisers ignore it (and, they could argue, rightfully so since they couldn't be certain that people turned it on of their own volition).

Microsoft could pop up a dialog asking, but even then, who exactly is going to click "yes, track me"? Perhaps they should get together with some people from the advertising industry to come up with some fair copy that explains the benefits (targeted ads mean that you receive ads that will more likely interest you, after all) and drawbacks of cross-domain tracking, to ensure a semi-educated choice on the part of users.

If they just turn it on and don't ask about it though, expect it to be yet another technology extinguished by poor Microsoft engineering decisions. (I was kinda hoping we were past that, guys.)

Re:What the fuck? (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385077)

What exactly are the drawbacks of advertising networks interest-preference cookies? Can you make that concrete? What bad things could happen to me if I click "yes"?

Re:What the fuck? (1)

rwv (1636355) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386929)

What exactly are the drawbacks of advertising networks interest-preference cookies?

Reverse question: What are the benefits? If you show me real benefits (and not some "hand-wave" about them* being able to show me ads that are for things that I want to buy) I will stop caring about my privacy.

To answer your question: I perceive that letting businesses have my private information leads to a sharp increase in junk mail, unwanted telephone calls, and spam e-mail which are three areas where I NEVER want to see advertizing -- accept from the 2 or 3 stores where I already spend significant amounts of money (Crate and Barrel being one of those stores that I enjoy getting their monthly circular in the mail).

* Who is "them" by the way? When reputable businesses and internet sleazebag companies are differentiated, then maybe I'll be happy to let certain reputable businesses (the company that owns Slashdot, the folks at Penny Arcade, maybe Amazon) track me. But yeah... I don't want anybody having any information unless I can trust them... and there isn't a whole lot of trust on most of the businesses operating on the internet.

Makes Sense (2)

organgtool (966989) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384089)

Chrome just overtook IE in marketshare and Google uses Chrome to track user's browsing habits for the purpose of targeted advertising. Making the Do-Not-Track policy the default for web browsers would hurt Google a lot more than it would hurt Microsoft, not to mention drastically reduce Google's incentive to continue pumping money into Chrome's development. While I like the idea of not being tracked by default, I hope it doesn't cost me future development of my favorite browser.

Re:Makes Sense (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384193)

and this is just part of the reason I use Ghostery and Noscript in Firefox. For the home network, my router includes a filtering proxy server as the gateway, thus as we become aware of the domains doing the most invasive tracking, I block them there. Seems to work quite well and the system I'm using for this is an old HP Pavilion based on a 700Mhz Celeron (P3 era) with 512 Ram. Hell power consumption is about the same as the last wireless router I'd bought while the performance is far better.

Re:Makes Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40384817)

and this is just part of the reason I use Ghostery and Noscript in Firefox. For the home network, my router includes a filtering proxy server as the gateway, thus as we become aware of the domains doing the most invasive tracking, I block them there. Seems to work quite well and the system I'm using for this is an old HP Pavilion based on a 700Mhz Celeron (P3 era) with 512 Ram. Hell power consumption is about the same as the last wireless router I'd bought while the performance is far better.

They still server side fingerprint you. Check out this site: http://browserspy.dk/ [browserspy.dk] of what the browser still reveals about you. And if you ever log in to Gmail, G+, Youtube or Android market with same fingerprint.. Most people underestimate the extent and sophistication of the data mining from the big networks.

Also, not saying you are doing this but some people whitelist sites like fx Slashdot for scripts, check out the HTML here and search for Google..

Re:Makes Sense (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385387)

The smallest powersupply in a Pavilion system of that era was around 120W. My router has a 5w wall wart. I think you may want to re-evaluate the power usage.

Re:Makes Sense (1, Informative)

Justin_Schuh (322319) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384373)

Google uses Chrome to track user's browsing habits for the purpose of targeted advertising.

This is simply not true and never has been. If you are interested in the facts, the Chrome Privacy Team thoroughly explains every feature that can be configured to exchange information with external services: http://www.google.com/chrome/intl/en/privacy.html [google.com]

Re:Makes Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40385539)

So, rely on a company to prove honest information on company's practices?

Seriously, what grade are you in?

Did you know that gullible is written on the ceiling?

Re:Makes Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40387147)

So, you're willing to trade privacy for a favored browser. Why not find a way to use your own dollars to vote for a superior browser? If everyone in the U.S. contributed $0.25/yr to a browser building effort, that'd be ~$77 million dollars a year, just for browser development nationwide.

First they came for the ICANN (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384115)

Now they are testing the W3C. Do not track is a popular and easily understandable topic so they can make people believe that they know better than an independent standards organisation.

Is evil-bit filtering also on by default? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40384151)

The folks who would respect this setting are probably the ones who are least likely to allow your data to be used maliciously in the first place. The ones who would use your data maliciously won't even write code to detect its presence.

Strongly worded letter. Fap fap fap. (1)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384183)

Seriously, I don't give two squirts from a rat's ass about whether or not browser-X enables DNT by default. I can turn it on myself just fine.

If Markey and Barton want to actually do something, how about some legislation requiring companies to honor the DNT flag?

Oh, right - That would actually risk backlash from their corporate owners. Instead, they get to look like the good guys right before heading off to a night of hookers and blow sponsored by DoubleClick.

The system hasn't broken - The system simply never had any intention of working for us. For the next run, we need to do away with both "incorporation" and any private funding of elections.

mod Up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40384217)

The mobfo blew

but when will Flash have do not track? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40384243)

I have "do not track" checked on all my browsers but Flash still spies on me and shows me ads for whatever I bought two weeks ago (which isn't even effective marketing its like why show me an ad of the shoes i ordered last week) but seriously to make this do not track crap worth a piss flash has got go.

What this really means.... (0)

3seas (184403) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384351)

....don't use IE10 if you don't want to be tracked.

Congress has nothing to do? How about WARS? (0)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384421)

Re:Congress has nothing to do? How about WARS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40384481)

I thought you were a Russian Jew? The invasion and occupation of Syria would be a huge benefit to Israel. Who's side are you on anyways?

Re:Congress has nothing to do? How about WARS? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384619)

'jew' only to a degree that I had a Jewish grandmother, sure, Russian? To a degree that I was born in the former USSR and speak the language.

By the way, your comment, it shows insane amount of ignorance. First of all Russia has a naval base in Syria [wikipedia.org] , so for USA to attack Syria is a similar situation to Russia attacking Mexico.

Secondly, it is retarded to believe that Israel will be a winner in this situation, unless you are asleep, you should have noticed that USA is bankrupt, which means USA cannot actually conduct another world war, and it wants a world war. Attacking Syria may eventually get Iran and Russia involved in this, and if that happens, then watch China and Pakistan and eventually Europe get into the conflict. Is Israel going to survive something like that, given that America's economy is hanging by whatever charity that China is still providing? I doubt it.

Re:Congress has nothing to do? How about WARS? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385161)

The entire world uses Israel to keep the middle east destabilized so they don't band together and become a problem by controlling oil reserves. No one is going to let anything serious happen over there, and if it did, you have Israel with American military equipment (undisputed second best in the world), which they've upgraded, oh, and they've been fighting with it their entire lives against everyone around them. I wouldn't want to see America fight Israel, I'm fairly certain if they were unleashed they'd have no problem walking across most of the middle east and owning it in about 2 weeks. You need to take a look at history. Israel is not someone you want to deal with when they aren't on their leash.

Its cute that you think anyone outside the middle easy cares about anything more than oil, but its really sad that you're that disconnected from reality.

Client side only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40384451)

Is this tracking option used only for Google Analytics (client side tracking with JS), or is it also for server-side tracking like AWStats?

If it is, how are we suppose to have stats about pageviews and traffic on our sites?

Re:Client side only? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385035)

AWStats doesn't 'track' you, it simply counts some numbers up from log files. It can't tell you what I bought last tuesday at a participating retailer.

What fucking authority... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40384763)

do any of these groups have over my fucking software defaults. Nuke the USA.

Re:What fucking authority... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385063)

Awe, 12 year olds with 'tude are so cute.

Lets see, one of them is the company that makes the software ... so they actually DO DECIDE the defaults, its really screwed up that you're too stupid to get that part.

The other one helped create the specification we're discussing ... so again, they have a little bit of a clue about it.

Basically both authorities are about 10 million times more qualified to discuss YOUR software defaults than YOU are apparently.

It just shows... (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 2 years ago | (#40384959)

... how much Congress is in the pockets of US corporations.

The real reason for this (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385403)

This has nothing to do with privacy or altruism. The real reason for the opt-out is to screw over Google. By denying them the data they deny them the revenue for selling the data. No one in their right mind would ever disable opt-out and Microsoft is stopping people installing rival browsers too. So they're as good as shutting Google out of the Windows ecosystem entirely.

Want to bet that this opt-out doesn't apply to any of the apps Microsoft bundles with Windows RT / 8?

Re:The real reason for this (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385805)

Microsoft is stopping people installing rival browsers too.

Hmm, obviously MS has developed a version of IE that looks JUST LIKE Firefox, then, because I'm using (what I thought was) FF on a Windows system to type this.

Microsoft doesn't support DNT on the back end (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40386299)

Want to bet that this opt-out doesn't apply to any of the apps Microsoft bundles with Windows RT / 8?

It doesn't apply to any tracking Microsoft does because even though they've gone so far as the standard-breaking client-side DNT-by-default in IE10, they don't support DNT at all server-side on the sites they operate that track user data.

Why Off by Default? (1)

Dudibob (1556875) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385589)

I may be about to open up a shit storm upon myself but this needs to be said. I'll hold my hands up and say I am an internet marketer (aka SEO & the rest to those who have heard of it) and I know the majority of people hate advertisements especially here on my much loved /. but it's kind of needed unless folk would like a pay wall on every website? In regards to tracking this is useful to create more relevant ads (usually), it's not perfect I'd admit but unless you want to let us marketeers to read your thoughts that's the only way it'd be truly relevant. However if you think marketing is annoying at the moment imagine what it'd be like if we couldn't track anyone to supply the current type of advertisement. We'd have to resort to TV style adverts or pay walls on every website. So tell me do you prefer the current adverts on Slashdot or would you prefer a 3 minute video every time you came here? If marketeers can't target specific people in specific(ish) ways we'd have to resort to the broader style of marketing and I would hate the web if it became like that.

W3C is against it because it violates the standard (1)

InvisiBill (706958) | more than 2 years ago | (#40385741)

The latest draft of the standard states "[a]n ordinary user agent MUST NOT send a Tracking Preference signal without a user's explicit consent." Having it set by default, without any input from the user, violates that. That seems about as simple as you can get. The real question should be whether or not that wording belongs in the standard.

As other commenters have said, I feel that enabling it by default would have a dramatic impact on advertisers. I feel that they'd be more willing to accept a few individuals explicitly turning it off, rather than every clueless user automatically having it turned off by default. It's simply compromising with the advertisers - if we ask nicely, they're more likely to respect our wishes. If we just say everyone everywhere doesn't want this, they're more likely to have a problem with that and simply ignore DNT settings altogether.

And just like a few people have mentioned, if the IE10 first-run wizard asked whether or not you wanted to enable it, it would no longer violate the standard and W3C should have nothing to say about it. Again, demonizing tracking in this dialog could result in a huge hit to advertisers, which again would make them less likely to honor the DNT setting altogether. As a compromise with advertisers, it would probably be best to explain that tracking may give you more relevant ads and such, while enabling DNT would give you more privacy. Simply asking, "Do you want to be tracked?" with no other details probably isn't the best way to handle it.

Until there are laws requiring companies to honor DNT, pissing off the advertisers over it will simply result in them not honoring it at all.

Right to privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40387151)

This right extends even to using your likeness. So if someone chooses not to have their information used to serve up better ads then so-be-it. If someone says in order to interact with this website we must be able to track you then you need to give people the option of enabling it. By default when I get a letter in the mail saying you've just been given a subscription to abc magazine, you may cancel at anytime, but we will bill you otherwise. This is very much the same thing where not having it on by default is the same as saying that we will use your information until you tell us to stop. By having DNT ignored by companies if they choose to do so should not be allowed. This is like the do not call list, or emailing list, etc. I'll tell you if and when I want better service by providing more information...until then back off!

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