Do Not Track Defaults to Off in Microsoft's Web Browsers

Do Not Track Defaults to Off in Microsoft's Web Browsers

Blaming a change in how the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is implementing the Do Not Track (DNT) standard, Microsoft has decided to alter the default value for this feature in future versions of its web browsers. Under the guise of providing customer choice DNT will be turned off, but made clear to customers how to turn it back on.

According to Microsoft's announcement, this change will only come as part of the setup of a new PC or when customers upgrade the operating system (to Windows 10) or Internet Explorer. The company has not explicitly stated that this setting will be turned off in Project Spartan but it's assumed, based on the wording.

What is DNT?

DNT is a privacy feature in most modern web browsers that give users the ability to opt-out of being tracked by web sites.

Microsoft first introduced this feature in Internet Explorer 10 and made the decision to turn it on by default. However, despite the good intentions to protect customer privacy, controversy arose over the default setting. Those that voiced concern the loudest were advertising companies (go figure), suggesting that Microsoft was not giving customers enough of a choice. Later, the original author of the DNT standard, Roy Fielding, essentially broke Microsoft's DNT implementation by submitting a patch for Apache web servers that ignored IE10's setting.

As it stands today, advertising companies have no legal obligation to honor DNT across the web.

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