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Microsoft Reaffirms Default Do-Not-Track For IE10, Windows 8 Express Setup

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the advertisers-cringe dept.

Internet Explorer 184

Billly Gates writes "Microsoft has confirmed that Internet Explorer 10 will have Do-Not-Track settings enabled by default. IE 10 comes with Windows 8, and will go release candidate for Windows 7 very soon, according to Anne Kohn in a comment in IE's blog. During Windows 8 setup, users who choose the 'Express' option will have DNT on by default, while using the 'Custom' option will give them the chance to change the setting, if they want. IE 10 already has a score of 319 in html5test.com, while MS is trying to position IE as a great browser again. Will this pressure other browsers such as Firefox and Opera to do the same?" When Microsoft began talking about this in May, it touched off quite a debate at W3C about whether browsers should have DNT turned on by default or not.

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yay! (0)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40915973)

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day :)

Re:yay! (5, Interesting)

imagined.by (2589739) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916035)

But in this case, it's horribly wrong.

This will effectively KILL the do-not-track project.

Re:yay! (5, Insightful)

PimpBot (32046) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916107)

Don't you think it was DOA anyways? The system depended upon honest advertisers, which is an oxymoron if I ever heard one.

Re:yay! (5, Insightful)

guises (2423402) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916589)

Exactly. My initial reaction was against this, but self regulation never works. Do Not Track is simply an effort by the data aggregators to stave off real privacy regulation - "Look! We'll make a token gesture to respect the privacy of the tech savvy minority as long as we can run roughshod over the vast majority. See, we're honest folks."

Kudos to Microsoft for calling it like it is on this one.

boo! (2, Insightful)

caspy7 (117545) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916111)

Mod parent up please.

Even the folks who have gotten behind DNT and pushed are against this.

The only reason I can think that MS would do this is either for appearance or because they know it would destroy the effort, or both.

Re:boo! (0)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916185)

Or they hope it will screw Google over. That sounds more of a typical MS behavior but it would hurt Bing too as I do not know of any non IE user who uses that over Google?

Re:boo! (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916221)

It won't screw Google over. The most relevant legislation with regard to DNT is the EU directive which says you must not track a user if they express a desire not to be tracked. However, if the header is sent by default, then Google can convincingly argue that the user has not expressed this desire. If, however, it is off by default, then this argument would be nonsense because the user must have explicitly enabled it.

I would love to see it as a setting with no default and a prompt when you install the browser, so that every user must make a conscious decision to either be tracked or not be tracked.

Re:boo! (5, Interesting)

Eirenarch (1099517) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916267)

The article on Ars Technica states that the EU authorities stand behind DNT by default which if true means that Google can argue nothing (at least in Europe)

Re:boo! (1)

wmac1 (2478314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916319)

What if some European citizens sue Google and claim it did not honor their setting and DNT request?

Default assumptions (2)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916445)

Your argument does not necessarily follow. "Using a browser which has DNT set by default" could itself be taken as expressing such a preference. And in Europe we tend to see privacy as opt-out rather than opt-in.

Looking at Microsoft's business model, on the one hand you have companies like Google, Facebook (and many iOS apps) which raise money through advertising (advertising is a source of income) and Microsoft and companies like RIM which raise money through licensing fees and direct sales (advertising is a cost center). I am sure that Microsoft would like an Internet in which everything has to be paid for by the end user. And so, possibly, would Apple. Together, they outweigh the opposition.

Re:Default assumptions (3, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916915)

And in Europe we tend to see privacy as opt-out rather than opt-in.

Are you living in the same Europe as me? Where your cars are regularly tracked by ANPR [wikipedia.org] . Where many states have compulsory ID cards [wikipedia.org] . Where communictaions companies have to install boxes to collect data for the government" [channel4.com]

Not much "opt out" there.

Re:Default assumptions (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917285)

I think you miss an important point here: the Government snoops but is expected to protect from commercial snooping. Someone will do it. Even in Switzerland, where it will be the neighbors. On the whole I tend to trust the State more than corporations.

Re:Default assumptions (2)

makomk (752139) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917105)

"Using a browser which has DNT set by default" could itself be taken as expressing such a preference.

When it's bundled as standard with the operating system installed on 95% of all PCs? That doesn't make much sense - it's not like most people use IE because they chose it over some other browser.

Re:boo! (3)

BeanThere (28381) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916553)

I would love to see it as a setting with no default and a prompt when you install the browser, so that every user must make a conscious decision to either be tracked or not be tracked.

But here's the thing. In spite of all this so-called debate, let's be honest, how many ordinary people are going to answer "Yes" to the question "Would you like other companies to be able to watch and compile databases of everything you do online?" ... I'm guessing approximately NOBODY. Who actually likes being watched?

However, if the header is sent by default, then Google can convincingly argue that the user has not expressed this desire

Actually, I'm willing to guess that a decent lawyer could convince a court that a reasonable person can be presumed by default to prefer not to be watched, given that pretty much nobody likes being watched. Put it another way, should you have to expressly opt out of me installing a camera in your bathroom, or can you by default be presumed to prefer that I not put a camera in your bathroom? The presence of a DNT selection, which people will rightfully not turn on, could clinch it. I suspect this is why the debate around this is so strong.

Re:boo! (1)

dhasenan (758719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916591)

Bad analogy. People are tracking your interactions with their servers, and sometimes selling this information to others. It would be closer to a department store using facial recognition with their security cameras to track your behavior in their store.

Re:boo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916657)

Dispense with the hand-waving sophistry and just answer this simple yes/no question: The majority of people would express a preference to be tracked online if given the choice? Yes/No.

Re:boo! (0, Flamebait)

BeanThere (28381) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916679)

The analogy is a thought experiment, dumbass, not a claim that online tracking is the precise exact equivalent of installing cameras in your bathroom (but that should be fucking obvious, so I have to question your motives in purposely misinterpreting and misconstruing what I wrote).

Re:boo! (2, Insightful)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917069)

how many ordinary people are going to answer "Yes" to the question "Would you like other companies to be able to watch and compile databases of everything you do online?" ... I'm guessing approximately NOBODY

If you say "do you want to have your online movements tracked and get nothing in exchange" I guess you'd be right. But sometimes there are benefits to the consumer to being tracked, so you may have different answers if you asked "do you want to have your online movements tracked in exchange for a pony"... See: store loyalty cards.

Re:boo! (1)

BeanThere (28381) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916501)

Microsoft's business model is based on selling you OS and productivity software. Google's business model is based on tracking you, in order to deliver targeted advertising. So yeah, I'd think the former stands more to benefit than the latter via enabling this, but much as I dislike MS, in this case it seems beneficial to consumers as well as MS. Personally, I'm a bit tired of all this increased online tracking these days, and I think the only reason Joe Public hasn't revolted is most people don't know just how bad online tracking has become.

I don't see why the specification has to dictate a default though; why not leave it up to the browser vendor to decide?

I doubt it would kill the project to have it on by default though; on the contrary, I'm guessing someone is more worried about the potential for things like class action suits if it becomes the norm for this to be enabled on widely released software, almost 'forcing' Google to have to ignore it ... I'm guessing what they're worried about it is precisely that it will be effective at its exact goal (for at least so-called "non-evil" advertisers).

Re:boo! (1)

Whiteox (919863) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916741)

I think the only reason Joe Public hasn't revolted is most people don't know just how bad online tracking has become.

How do you mean that? That they are ignorant for whatever reason, or, the advertising they are seeing are of their interest because of targeted tracking?
In that case, tracking can be controlled somewhat by the use of IE add-ons that have different levels of filtering,

Re:yay! (1)

nzac (1822298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916127)

My understanding is just IE 10 users won't be able to DNT; as the browsers should make explicitly an opt in choice (ideally hidden somewhere). Now to opt into it they would have to change there user-agent or something else far harder than it should be.

If win8 adoption is slow then everything will be fine for everyone else.

Re:yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916195)

I have a hard time trying to decide what Microsoft's game is here.

On the one hand, Microsoft have big competitors who depend on tracking data, and tracking off by default hurts Google more than MS. While DNT is currently voluntary, there are indications that once it's up and running regulators (in several countries) would consider making it mandatory to obey the header.

On the other hand, this comes across as a pretty cack-handed attempt. As all corporate gamers of standards know, you keep quite about what you're up to for as long as possible, only revealing your dastardly plan once the standard is ratified and in use once it's hard for your competitors to change track. If Google starts to ignore DNT from IE, claiming (correctly) that it doesn't represent a user choice then the standard falls apart. Maybe this is in MS's interests too (they have adverting supported web businesses too) and they're quite happy with that outcome after all, getting to proclaim their own privacy stance and point fingers at big bad Google along the way.

Re:yay! (1)

fiddley (834032) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916895)

The countries involved will legislate if the the advertisers decline to follow the voluntary code. This is the worst of end games for the advertisers because the legislation will likely be more draconian and far-reaching than the DNT code of conduct ever was. It's win-win for Microsoft.

Re:yay! (5, Insightful)

ChatHuant (801522) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916203)

This will effectively KILL the do-not-track project.

Good. The do-not-track project as designed by Mozilla and Google is worthless, and I'm reasonably sure it's intentionally broken. It's just trusting the web site to agree to your browser's plea to please not track it; there is no enforcement mechanism, and no way to even know your request is honored or not. A proper design would not even connect to a tracker's web site.
 
Of course, Google has a major conflict of interest in this - tracking people is what makes them the big money; that's why I suspect Mozilla and Google came up with this "design", pretending to care about privacy while aware that many users aren't knowledgeable or caring enough to set the DNT flag, and also on the fact that when push comes to shove they can just ignore the "don't track" request. Microsoft is pretty much calling their bluff there.

Re:yay! (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916475)

I think the architects are hoping that only 1% of users will enable it, and those 1% aren't really valuable to advertisers anyway (it might even be more valuable to know who they are than to track them).

If it's on by default then yeah, it'll die. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Re:yay! (2)

oldlurker (2502506) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916229)

But in this case, it's horribly wrong.

This will effectively KILL the do-not-track project.

I don't understand this argument (I know it after much discussion was the compromise in the standard, but it is not a good one). Do not stalk me unless I allow you to should be the default expected behavior. That the built-in popup-blocker block popup ads by default doesn't give the website any right to claim that I didn't really actively choose to block popup ads so they are free to circumvent it.

It seems some people were hoping advertisers would respect their settings to opt-out, as long as not too many people knew about it and did it (because a significant number of users opting out would surely also "KILL the do-not-track project", stopping advertisers from respecting the setting, if they ever will). I just think this is a strange and unsustainable approach. Hopefully this will provoke a better approach.

Re:yay! (1)

Ami Ganguli (921) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916307)

The argument is that most users don't really mind being tracked, but certainly aren't going to go out of their way to enable it. The majority just doesn't care enough to actively turn DNT on, even if it's easy to find in the settings.

That's very different from pop-ups, which are immediately obnoxious and swear-inducing.

From my own experience, I suspect this is in fact true. Regular people just aren't up in arms about tracking, even though everybody knows it happens.

Re:yay! (1)

citizenr (871508) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916619)

The argument is that most users don't really mind being tracked

I like how you equate being tracked to donating organs (same mechanism). Must be USian thing.

 

Re:yay! (1)

Ami Ganguli (921) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917277)

Actually I'm Canadian, but in any case I don't see your point. How did I equate DNT to donating organs? And is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Re:yay! (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916287)

This will effectively KILL the do-not-track project.

Why?

Re:yay! (1)

wmac1 (2478314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916291)

Could users possibly sue websites if they find the website has not honored their DNT settings?

Re:yay! (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916449)

Maybe, but are you really going to try and sue a Bermudan company for tracking you (or wherever they'll put the servers if this ever becomes legally enforceable...)

Only one thing is certain about DNT: It won't stop anybody from tracking you.

What we really need is a browser which detects tracking and randomizes results. Make it pointless to even try tracking you.

Re:yay! (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916311)

I actually see it more as a "fuck you" to Google. Do not track screws with anyone who's revenue comes from tracking people & their online interactions.

Re:yay! (1)

million_monkeys (2480792) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916313)

But in this case, it's horribly wrong.

This will effectively KILL the do-not-track project.

Perhaps. But that reveals the underlying flaw in the do no track (DNT) idea (even if companies want to honor it): It doesn't work if everyone opts not to be tracked. There's just too much perceived value from tracking users. When it's less than 1% of the total users asking not to be tracked, marketers don't really lose anything by honoring the system. But setting IE 10 to use DNT by default means 95+% of IE 10 users will be using DNT. That's a huge market share gone,

And maybe more importantly, DNT becomes no longer opt-in. It's now an opt out system for nearly half of the users. That adds a pretty powerful argument to ignore the opt out request: nearly all of the users didn't really choose to opt-out of tracking, they just selected the default setting. So tracking them doesn't really violate their wishes. Out of 20 people who say "don't track me", maybe one actually means it. If you're a web company, even with the best of intentions, it's hard to give up tracking 20 people just to honor the wishes of one.

(This post brought to you by a six pack of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.)

IANAL but there is a potential *big* problem (1)

benjymouse (756774) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916887)

if a site choose to ignore the DNT setting of IE10:

  How can the site reliably determine whether the user behind the browser has actually explicitly taken the decision? If an online ad agency decides to ignore the DNT preferences of *all* IE10 users, they will invariably violate the right to not be tracked of a *number* of users.

This could easily land the advertiser in a serious conflict with the EU commision, and if found guilty of ignoring users' wishes they could end up with a *hefty* penalty - and face accumulating penalties until they change their behavior to respect the users.

In the US i guess that it could open up the advertiser to a class-action lawsuit - potentially even bigger then the EU fine.

No, some site on the Bahamas will probably give a damn. But Google - being the company that tracks most users and serves up ads - has *a lot* to loose on this.

Re:yay! (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917147)

This is great news for the 53 people who will be using IE 10 and Windows 8. Just like Vista I don't see a compelling reason to "upgrade". Unlike Vista, however, I see many, many reasons NOT to switch to Windows 8. The fact that Microsoft are tying this OS to their tablet-like thing pretty much dooms it to failure too. Hey it's my opinion, and I could be wrong. I admire that Microsoft is taking a pretty huge gamble. But I think it's a gamble they are going to lose. Surely Redmond could have come up with a better strategy but I guess Microsoft sufferes from the same illness that affects all corporations after a while when they get big enough: mediocrity.

Do not what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40915977)

I'm a professional web developer of 16 years+, and I don't know what "Do Not Track" is.

But nice article.

Re:Do not what? (4, Funny)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 2 years ago | (#40915983)

And you don't know Google search either. What kind of web sites do you build?

Re:Do not what? (4, Informative)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916019)

HTTP header to request "opt out" of any tracking on websites you visit.

i.e. will be ignored by just about everyone by default anyway, and even when you "opt out" you can still be tracked by most websites in the world, and turning it on or off will have virtually zero visible effect to the user so you'll never know even if the website "accidentally" tracked you anyway.

Worthless, ill-designed, junk.

Re:Do not what? (5, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916055)

Yeah, I don't know what people are smoking these days, but you've got to be seriously delusional if you think that Do Not Track is going to be respected in any way. They'll track anyway, and if they get busted, they'll call out the lawyer brigades and nothing will fucking happen. Hell, maybe they'll even end up with some sweet legal precedent saying they have every right to track us if we deign to navigate to one of their websites.

I trust NoScript and Adblock, I sure as shit do not trust "we won't track you, we promise!"

Re:Do not what? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916343)

Yeah, I don't know what people are smoking these days, but you've got to be seriously delusional if you think that Do Not Track is going to be respected in any way.

They could pass a law.

That would mean the major advertisers would have to respect it, although all advertisers are sleazy by nature so they'll try to get around it by becoming even more sleazy than they already are.

Re:Do not what? (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916349)

NoScript and Adblock alone won't stop people tracking you. You need to control cookies as well, and I'm not sure even that is enough. This plugin [mozilla.org] at least gives you a clue if you are being monitored

Re:Do not what? (4, Funny)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916197)

Worthless, ill-designed, junk.

Nooooo!?! Next thing you are going to tell me is that the hackers disregard RFC3514 [ietf.org] during attacks???

Re:Do not what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916457)

Ah crap! I'll post AC until I get some mod points to bump you up. I love this RFC and it's the first thing that comes to mind whenever any idiot talks about DNT on the web.

Re:Do not what? (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916233)

You are missing the point of the header. It is something that is sent along with the initial HTTP request that expresses the user's desire. By itself, that's all it does. It can, however, be used in later legal proceedings. In the EU, for example, tracking someone after receiving an explicit opt-out is illegal. If someone can prove that you are tracking people who do not wish to be tracked then you are liable for large fines.

Re:Do not what? (3, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916297)

And the question of DNT being an explicit opt-out at all, or even getting to the remote server intact, is dubious.

If you pop up a message on the front page of a website that says "can we track you for the next week?" and the user says yes, but their browser is still pushing DNT, do you think the website should not track anything anyway? They have EXPLICIT permission to do so. And on a visible, obvious, user-controlled way, that the user COULD NOT IGNORE or forget, that can be easily seen by any idiot, rather than some obscure browser setting in only some browsers, that makes no visible change to the average user, and that may not ever be able to be tweaked by the user.

It's worthless, in law and in usage. And it doesn't express the user's desire if it is on by default and the user has to specifically turn it off. It just expresses the software manufacturer's desire (and, if as the article states, installs of Windows will have it on by default, it means even less in terms of what the user wants).

I'm not stupid, I doubt there are people who WANT to be tracked or wouldn't turn it on if they understand what it was supposed to do. But it doesn't. And never will. And saying that a hidden HTTP header that could easily be stripped by intervening proxy servers that don't understand it (and be untraceable as to WHERE that header got stripped off, and thus useless in court) overrides the explicit, visible, non-accidental obtained consent of users with an associated privacy policy available to them is just ludicrous.

There will NEVER be a court case about DNT usage on a website. Because it's not binding in *any* country at all and it certainly can't be taken as a revocation of previous consent (thus it is overrode by anything that the websites ALREADY have deployed to comply with EU cookie laws, for example) without a suitable legal precedent, which itself is somewhere incredibly unlikely and impossible.

Is DNT an opt-out for THIS session? This page? This browser? This IP? This logged-in-user? Forever? Does it override previous decisions? Does its absence override its prior presence (i.e. now you surf without DNT, we can take that as consent for all the previous sessions too?). It's so vague as to be absolutely pointless.

It *does not* do what it was designed for, helps no-one (not even advertisers or users), and is a ginormous waste of money to deploy for everyone involved (from browsers to users to websites to policy makers to the government to legal cases, etc.).

Re:Do not what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916365)

It actually allows sites to finger print you more thoroughly by adding a bit more variance to settings (presence or absence of DNT).

Re:Do not what? (5, Funny)

caspy7 (117545) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916117)

I'm a professional web developer of 16 years+, and I don't know what "Do Not Track" is.

No need to embarrass yourself in front of the class dude.

Re:Do not what? (1)

BeanThere (28381) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916567)

Boy should you be glad you posted that comment as AC. Anyway, http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/dnt/ [mozilla.org]

What is Do Not Track?

Do Not Track is a step toward putting you in control of the way your information is collected and used online. Do Not Track is a feature in Firefox that allows you to let a website know you would like to opt-out of third-party tracking for purposes including behavioral advertising. It does this by transmitting a Do Not Track HTTP header every time your data is requested from the Web.

Wait a minute, (0, Troll)

Hermanas (1665329) | more than 2 years ago | (#40915989)

IE 10 already has a score of 319 in html5test.com, while MS is trying to position IE as a great browser again.

Again!? Implying it was great once? What have I missed? I've been in web development for around 12 years now, and I most certainly do not remember ever having many nice things to say about IE. Or do you mean great, as in having the majority monopoly-based userbase?

Re:Wait a minute, (1, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40915995)

Better than that, the IE10 score is lower than just about every current browser on the market, except IE9. :-)

Re:Wait a minute, (5, Informative)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916049)

Wow! A score of 319 is really impressive!

Wait hang on.
* Chrome 22: 442
* Chrome 21: 437
* Opera 12.50: 409
* Firefox 14: 345

Sure its better than IE 9, but a modern browser it is not.
Doesn't even come close to stable Firefox.

Re:Wait a minute, (2, Funny)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916081)

Sod that. It doesn't even come close to Opera Mobile!

Re:Wait a minute, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916103)

And FF 17 is on 389 now, so it's even farther.

Re:Wait a minute, (4, Interesting)

makomk (752139) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916217)

Apparently, even Konqueror - which hasn't really been under active development for years and had very little funding before then - manages to score 321.

Re:Wait a minute, (2, Interesting)

neyla (2455118) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916373)

They're behind the curve for sure, but it *is* a significant step forward.

IE9 scores 138. Firefox 14 scores 345. IE10 scores 319.

Yes, it's still the worst of the major browsers, but the distance is smaller, scoring 92% of firefox is a LOT better than 40% which is the current status.

Re:Wait a minute, (3, Interesting)

wmac1 (2478314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916333)

So we no more play the ACID test game?

MS astroturfers downmodded everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40917379)

Looks like at least 2 of them. I rectified some of the damage before logging out.

Well, considering MS is a grey evil (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916017)

DNT only works if websites honor it. Some have already said that if browsers turned it on by default, they would not honor it. So... could MS, a company with a long history of embrace and strange while raping it up the ass, be enabling it by default to give websites an excuse to ignore it and thereby kill it from within while appearing to the gullible as a nice company?

Well, Soulskill sure is gullible enough. a great browser again. Indeed.

It ain't Paranoia if you think MS is out to screw everyone else. In fact, that is hopelessly naive. MS happily screws itself too.

Re:Well, considering MS is a grey evil (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916161)

I wonder if some will just ignore IE10 over this as opposed to all browsers.

Re:Well, considering MS is a grey evil (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916329)

MS makes money by selling stuff, and then locking people in. Google for example makes money by advertisement, which made more valuable by tracking people. So maybe Microsoft decided since they don't have to loose anything on this, they might as well claim the moral high ground: "our browser respects your privacy etc."

DNT only works if websites honor it. Some have already said that if browsers turned it on by default, they would not honor it.

If it's disabled by default, who honors it is pretty much irrelevant, since 99% of all people will have it disabled, never having heard of it. So yeah, of course they'd "honor" something that doesn't mean anything.

But hey, without any teeth, it doesn't mean anything either way - the honour system is pointless with scumbags. Turning it off by default would allow them to get statistics about people who don't like being tracked. Turning it on by default allows them to get statistics about everybody, and people who LIKE being tracked. I know which situation I like more.

But the rest, those who aren't outright criminal, will at least suffer a dent in coolness factor. As in, those who do not track, even though DHT is on by default, are cooler than those who do. Yes, it's hard to tell, but at least with large corporations one can hope that if they publically claim to honor DNT, but actually don't, someone will blow the whistle. That's not much, but better than nothing.

Right now, we're in mostly abusive relationships with many websites, and the only reason they get away with that is the claim that everybody does that, it's just normal. It just takes a bunch of "good guys" to prove that's false. Not a day passes without 1000s of people expressing their wish for a Facebook, Google, Apple or Microsoft (etc.) with morals. The technology is actually much easier to rebuilt from scratch than building and maintaining character: every learned monkey can make Twitter, but character takes more time, and more will. *cue butthurt web monkeys*

"That's some nice traffic you got there.. would be a shame if it dried up..." It ain't Paranoia if you think MS is out to screw everyone else.

What, exactly, does Microsoft have to gain from random websites tracking their users?

Re:Well, considering MS is a grey evil (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916347)

The bottom half of that post got gobbled up, sorry:

"That's some nice traffic you got there.. would be a shame if it dried up..." <-- what makes you think websites get to dictate shit? I'm not content with that approach. If they won't do the right thing, let's make them. This is Sparta, after all.

It ain't Paranoia if you think MS is out to screw everyone else.

What, exactly, does Microsoft have to gain from random websites tracking their users?

Re:Wait a minute, (4, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916089)

IE 10 already has a score of 319 in html5test.com, while MS is trying to position IE as a great browser again.

Again!? Implying it was great once? What have I missed? I've been in web development for around 12 years now, and I most certainly do not remember ever having many nice things to say about IE. Or do you mean great, as in having the majority monopoly-based userbase?

10 years ago how well did Netscape 4.7 do CSS compared to IE 6? ... thats what I thought.

Soulskill edited my entry as I put a whim of sarcasm stating slashdotters and webmasters favorite browser (sarcasm intended). Needless to say I remember IE 6 frustratingly and angrily beating Netscape quite well as it was the first browser to support the proper box model as long as it didn't go into quirks mode. I wanted Netscape to win but 10 years ago went to IE 6 and it was a better browser. IE 5 was not bad either and invented AJAX. IE 6 is just well very old and not meant for anything but simple 50k websites with 2 or 3 tiny 25k pics with a css that is about half dozen lines or less usually specifying fonts or something silly. Not the bloated sites we have today. The things it does wrong are were very cutting edge and not standardized in 2001. It is similiar to alot of css 3 stuff I see with different arguments for color picking a gradient for example. W3c will pick one syntax in 10 years times and one of the browsers today wont be standards complaint with it in the future. IE 6 shouldn't have been used for so long.

MS let it rot and did not fix the rendering bugs nor the huge security risks as MS thought we would all be using Vista and IE 7 by 2005 (2004 was Longhorns original date if I remember correctly) and the delaying made things worse.

Anyway give MS credit for at least trying to make a somewhat decent browser and making your life as a web developer easier. IE 10 is supposed to be truly competitive to Firefox and Chrome which is good for METRO developers. Remember people like your Mom, grandparents, Chinese, and corporate employers wont ever switch no matter how much we beg. At least let them enjoy a somewhat similar browsing experience you have at home. I saw a benchmark testing emca javascript and IE 10 was the most compliant browser out there. It will make everyone's life easier if people use 1 standard for the internet and IE is catching up finally.

Re:Wait a minute, (3, Insightful)

Shimbo (100005) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916145)

10 years ago how well did Netscape 4.7 do CSS compared to IE 6?

10 years ago Netscape 4.7 had been abandoned several years: Netscape 6, on the other hand wiped the floor with IE 6 on CSS, although admittedly, it sucked in numerous other ways.

Re:Wait a minute, (1)

Hermanas (1665329) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916227)

Truth be told, I do actually concur with most of what you said above. Back in the day IE wasn't all bad, and its differences didn't really bother me since 90% of people were using it anyway and no-one really knew where standards were heading. We were all rooting for Netscape, but I used IE for development and Opera for personal browsing.

My biggest gripe with IE was IE6 way overstaying its welcome, not honoring the box model, not properly reporting errors ("Error on line 0.") and completely breaking on stupid things like leaving a trailing comma after an array (which was supposed to be legal according to Ecmascript standards, and it would have helped if it at least just properly reported the line of the error).

So yes, at one stage it was arguably on par with browsers of the same release timeframe, at least as far as its users were concerned, and completely dominant in the realm of user adoption. Great? Considering IE6 was the last version for which both those statements held true, I still wouldn't use such a strong word. But it's probably just 10 years of directed hatred getting the better of me :)

Wrong thinking (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916315)

If I race an olympic athlete, my result will suck.

If I race a dead person, my result will STILL suck even if I win.

You can be better then your competition AND still be crap. In the land of the blind, one-eye is king, but not automatically a great king.

Re:Wait a minute, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916099)

What have I missed? I've been in web development for around 12 years now

You missed pretty much everything. 1993 to 2000 was a time of incredibly rapid evolution in web standards. You can't understand where we are now with browser compatibility without understanding what happened then. By the start of your career in 2000 Netscape was pretty much irrelevant, HTML 4.01 and CSS2 were specified, AJAX had been invented, IE5 was the best browser (really) and IE6 was just around the corner. The years after 2000 (and before HTML5) were a fairly stagnant period of consolidation.

Re:Wait a minute, (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916271)

I've been in web development for around 12 years now, and I most certainly do not remember ever having many nice things to say about IE

As the other poster said, you missed most of the development of the web. Between about 1996 and 2000, there were massive regular releases of browsers and people actually cared about upgrading because they got new features. There were also a lot of sites with 'Designed for IE' or 'Designed for Netscape' on them, so you typically had both installed so you could switch between them. Opera was either ad-supported or expensive, so the two free browsers were IE and Netscape. IE 3 was reasonable, but not especially exciting. Both IE4 and NS4 were massively hyped. I remember them both arriving on cover disks (too big to download on a modem) and trying them both. Netscape 4 was slow. IE4 came with the whole Active Desktop thing (which was slow), but was pretty reasonable. Oh, and didn't crash nearly as often as Netscape 4. IE 5 fixed most of the irritations with IE4, but Netscape was on their whole 'let's rewrite the whole thing from scratch' kick so didn't put out anything to compete with it. IE 6, again, was better.

I had to use Netscape 4.x on Linux machines in university, but at home I used IE for pretty much everything. By that point, Microsoft had pretty much all of the browser market and stopped caring. Mozilla (the open sourced Netscape) pushed out a release, but it was horrible and bloated. Oh, and buggy. And, because the mail and news client ran in the same XUL / XPCOM instance as the browser, when the browser crashed (as it did every few hours), it also killed the mail client and you lost any drafts you hadn't saved.

For a while, I used Mozilla for mail and IE for browsing (IE didn't crash very often, and when it did it didn't crash mail too). Then I bought Opera, and just used Mozilla for mail. Opera was definitely nicer than IE, but it was also quite expensive. I'm not sure if they still do, but back then they also sold it for FreeBSD and NetBSD on a couple of architectures.

Re:Wait a minute, (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916627)

Again!? Implying it was great once?

IE3 was pretty good and I liked IE4 as well. At least it was a whole lot better than the big mess Netscape presented with Navigator 4.

Nothing but misery after that though.

yeah but no-one on the desktop will use Windows 8 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916011)

So this isn't going to have much impact as anyone who updates Windows 7 is already going to have installed an alternative browser.

Everyone is Super? (2)

kubajz (964091) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916027)

I wonder what websites will do once almost everyone has Do Not Track enabled. If it's just a few nerds... let's stop tracking them if they insist. If it's everyone...?

"And when everyone is Super... no one will be!" ---The Incredibles

Re:Everyone is Super? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916085)

> "And when everyone is Super... no one will be!" ---The Incredibles

glad i never watched the incredibles, it's amazing this kind of anti-communist bullshit is still being put in hollywood movies. the cold war is over assholes you can stop progandizing the kids, ok.

Re:Everyone is Super? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916855)

Clearly you are not super.

Re:Everyone is Super? (4, Insightful)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916621)

Pretty much. Short of government regulation we as a community can't actually compel advertisers to do anything (just getting them to acknowledge DNT in the first place was a small miracle), so if we actually make it hard for them to do their thing they'll just ignore DNT entirely.

319? Well well well. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916039)

Look who decided to enter the browser wars again.
Still the lowest of the main browsers, and just a few over some handhelds browsers, so not that bad at all.

Oh god the consoles page saddens.
Even televisions have higher stats than they do, what the hell man, what the actual hell? That is embarrassing. (I don't think PSP can even run that page at all, probably get a out of memory or not allow the changing of any elements/styles)
Hell, PHONES have better browsers. They have no excuse when they are around the same prices.
Why the hell do they even bother going with Netfront if they don't even bother going all the way?
No wonder they are dying.

Re:319? Well well well. (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916139)

Look who decided to enter the browser wars again.
Still the lowest of the main browsers, and just a few over some handhelds browsers, so not that bad at all.

Oh god the consoles page saddens.
Even televisions have higher stats than they do, what the hell man, what the actual hell? That is embarrassing. (I don't think PSP can even run that page at all, probably get a out of memory or not allow the changing of any elements/styles)
Hell, PHONES have better browsers. They have no excuse when they are around the same prices.
Why the hell do they even bother going with Netfront if they don't even bother going all the way?
No wonder they are dying.

My Android phone has like 147. It is quite modern thank you very much.

First off, (I am not an IE lover here or a troll as I am just correcting the anti IE noise) html5test.com tests obscure things the website makers would like to see discussed on some mailings list. It is not w3c at all nor is all of recommended in anyway!

To say it is inferior to a handheld device like my galaxy s or someone said does not qualify as even modern is lubricious. Both Chrome and Firefox last summer has lower scores! Basically 10 months behind does not make it ancient on a standard people discuss in their mailing lists.

That 327 score includes gradients, transformations, webworkers, h.264, and other things. It does not include some api's for indexing and webcam. I believe they could be used for hacking purposes and until a secure implementation is proposed probably is best it doesn't include it.

Re:319? Well well well. (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917449)

Basically 10 months behind does not make it ancient

Its an unreleased product, with a lead time of 18 months till the next one, it is massively behind on features available in released browsers now.

Wouldn't it be nice (2)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916091)

If all the browser support of Javascript, css and html5 was close to the same.

I know... I know...

Microsoft at the Front and Back at the same time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916113)

Anyone remember P3P ? IE6 used to (not sure if it does or cares anymore) check for the P3P privacy profile and set cookie settings based on this when it came out. This resulted in many cases where the advertisement systems of the day stopped working before CORS and XSS security was ramped up.

Having DNT:1 on by default, in the web browser won't do a thing. It's up to the server admins to respect it. Unfortunately, servers are not updated as frequently as client software. Most linux installations are years out of date and only update Apache and PHP when a security problem appears. The default Apache install is still prefork... like for crying out loud get with the times. Ubuntu, CentOS, I'm looking at you guys. Get Apache 2.4 now and default to Event.

And as much US content is produced in the US, where there's no law mandating adherence to DNT, nothing is going to happen. There has to be a legal means of enforcement, and it just won't happen. Too much money to be made selling marketing data.

Re:Microsoft at the Front and Back at the same tim (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916137)

Prefork is pretty much used in any areas where Apache is used in high demand services. You can get fairly decent performance out of Apache in this mode provided you have adjusted the system's file descriptors according to the child processes and traffic the webserver is meant to handle.

Firefox (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916129)

I doubt if Firefox is going to do this anytime soon.

This is the reason Google made Chrome and also support Firefox monetarily.

Re:Firefox (2)

caspy7 (117545) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916165)

You're quite right. Mozilla, who has help to push Do Not Track and the first to implement it, is very much against turning it on by default. Doing so simply deflates the effort.
MS may very well have this in mind.

Re:Firefox (2)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916865)

My guess is they want to hurt Google, which this will. And then when Google eventually starts ignoring it they can trumpet that fact and hurt them some more.

How altruistic of them (2)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916257)

A more cynical person might believe this is just a way for Microsoft to stick it to Google, Facebook etc, especially in tablet land. I'm sure the terms and conditions mean MS / Bing services are not so impeded by what it may or may not do with user data.

Re:How altruistic of them (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916447)

Possibly but MS have invested in FB so why would they want to damage their profits?

Incompatible (2)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916261)

This website is incompatible with the Do Not Track feature of your browser. Please disable the feature and hit refresh to try again.

Re:Incompatible (1)

wmac1 (2478314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916351)

There are millions of other websites. I normally close the page and no more visit the website if it tries to bully me (force me to disable AdBlock or force me to register before I can see the article ...)

Re:Incompatible (2)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917041)

There are millions of other websites. I normally close the page and no more visit the website if it tries to bully me (force me to disable AdBlock or force me to register before I can see the article ...)

It hardly counts as a bullying tactic - if you refuse to pay the cover charge (eg watch a few ads) then you shouldn't be allowed in.

If a site asks me to turn off ad block or register (for a service I don't want to register for) then like you, I just go somewhere else, but I don't go around claiming they are bullying me.

Dear rats... (1)

Zemran (3101) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916331)

...please do not leave the ship. The water entering the hull is a feature and nothing to worry about.

Great browser? (1)

gallondr00nk (868673) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916413)

while MS is trying to position IE as a great browser again.

I can't remember anyone ever saying IE was great.

Re:Great browser? (2)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916693)

When it had to beat netscape, Explorer was a good browser. If it ever manages to become relevant again, it will try to make it difficult for everybody else again. All corporations behave the same way, not all have the levers MS can pull, but that's a technicality.

Good! (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916433)

It's not enough to convert me to IE but of course it should be on by default. The only reason companies don't want that is because they know it'll never get switched on by most people.

Oh boy, STILL DEAD LAST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916573)

IE 10 already has a score of 319 in html5test.com,

Wow, so they've shipped Windows 8 with a browser that's STILL DEAD LAST in terms of HTML5 support. Sure, it's a major improvement over IE9 and earlier - but making shit browsers for a decade doesn't suddenly turn the latest, less-shitty one into something great.

Doesn't matter (1)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916599)

So every script that handles DNT will start with something like "if browser=="IE10" and dnt=="1" then dnt=null", treating IE users the same as any other user that did not set the DNT flag explicitly. No harm done, except to people who are savvy enougth to know about DNT and still use IE (and they really have nobody to blame except themselves).

Now, while we're on the subject, could browser makers please make the "Accept-Language" also default to null unless the user sets it explicitly? If I set it to "en-us", it means I actually want the English version of the page, but websites that check this header all assume that "en-us" means "left at default setting" and serve me the local language of the country I happen to be in. (The same thing as will happen with DNT on IE.)

DNT is the new Evil Bit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916817)

DNT is such a joke..... Makes me sad politicians do not understand why RFC3514 was posted on 1 april! I'm sure they could write much better laws if they did!

Do-nut track? (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916823)

Is that like a mobile speed camera detection system?

Idiots (0)

Azathfeld (725855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916833)

You can't implement a voluntary privacy feature as on-by-default. Everyone will just ignore it. Microsoft is run by hooting baboons who simply simulate the ability to run a large company through monkey-mimicry.

Do not track with OTHER TRACKERS in Win8! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40917359)

I'm surprised the creepy aspect of Win8 isn't getting media attention. To use Metro apps, you need a Microsoft signon. Windows 8 is just a big attempt to monetize the Windows consumer user base by driving them to Bing and MS web services in order to monetize them.

So Microsoft doesn't want OTHER PARTIES to track their captive audience, hence this default setting. MS can already track people because they have to be logged on to Bing to use any Metro apps supplied in Win8.

Only sophisticated users would know how to create a local login (like Windows 7), and if you do that the Metro apps in the preview don't work.

Bing Bar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40917461)

So how much do we want to bet it comes with Bing toolbar pre-installed with tracking built in there?

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