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Should I turn on Internet Explorer's 'Enable Strict P3P Validation' option? Getty Images

Should I turn on Internet Explorer's 'Enable Strict P3P Validation' option?

Q. In my copy of Internet Explorer's security settings, I see the option ‘Enable Strict P3P Validation.’ Would you recommend that I check this option? I’ve left it in the default unchecked condition for the time being.

​A. P3P is the “Platform for Privacy Preferences,” an old, XP-era (circa 2002) protocol that websites can optionally use to publish some elements of their privacy policies so that browsers can automatically parse and act upon the information contained there.

​But P3P was cumbersome to implement, and it never really caught on. The official P3P Working Group suspended development ten years ago. Today, relatively few websites even bother to implement the required code.

​Among the major browsers, only Internet Explorer has routinely offered ongoing support for P3P. But that’s starting to change — Microsoft is finally letting support for the protocol to fade away. The “Enable Strict P3P Validation” setting is currently available only in some versions of IE. For example, my Windows 10 IE 11 version doesn’t have it. And even in those IE versions that have the option, the default setting is off — disabled.

​Because this is an older standard that’s not widely implemented, and because using it could lead to unpredictable results, I personally don’t think P3P validation is anything to worry about.

​In short: If “Enable Strict P3P Validation” is unavailable, or it’s available but disabled in your browser, you’re probably fine as-is.


Editor's note: We feature an abridged Q&A from Fred Langa's LANGALIST, a column available exclusively to paid subscribers of the Windows Secrets newsletter,. What you see here is just a small sampling of what Langa's writing for the newsletter — go here for more information on how to subscribe.

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