Microsoft is building a Tracking Protection List feature into Internet Explorer 9. Here's how it works.
Microsoft announced plans today to add new protection to block tracking in the upcoming version of Internet Explorer.
In IE9, Microsoft
to implement a TPL (Tracking Protection List), following up on a "Do
Not Track" proposal being pushed by the Federal Trade Commission. Last
week, the commission released a report backing the creation of a
Do Not Track mechanism to limit the ability of advertisers to collect
information about the online activity of consumers.
In a question and answer on the issue
Microsoft Chief Privacy Strategist Peter Cullen said while many
consumers have privacy concerns, some sharing is good, requiring that
privacy involves a trade-off.
"Consumers understand that they have a relationship with the site
they visit directly, whose address is clearly visible to them," he
said. "The modern Web, though, means that Websites include content from
many other sites as well. These 'third-party' sites are in position to
potentially track consumers, via cookies and other technology
mechanisms. This creates a potential trade-off for those consumers with
The TPL will contain Web addresses that the browser will visit
only if the consumer visits them directly by clicking on a link or
typing in the address. By limiting the calls to these Websites and
resources from other Web pages, the TPL limits the information these
other sites can collect, Microsoft explained
"Tracking Protection in IE9
people in control of what data is being shared as they move around the
Web," said Dean Hachamovitch, corporate vice president and head of IE
development. "It does this by enabling consumers to indicate what
Websites they'd prefer to not exchange information with. Consumers do
this by adding Tracking Protection Lists to Internet Explorer. Anyone,
and any organization, on the Web can author and publish Tracking
Protection Lists. Consumers can install more than one."
"These lists include Web addresses for IE to treat as 'Do Not Call'
unless the consumer visits the address directly," he continued. "The
lists also include 'OK to Call' addresses to make sure that the user
can get to these addresses even if one of their lists has it as 'Do Not
Call.' Once the consumer has turned on Tracking Protection, it remains
on until the person turns it off."
The Tracking Protection Lists will be empty by default in
order to leave control of the list up to the user and because
restricting content from external sites can make some functionality in
sites stop working with cookies, Web beacons and other mechanisms that
are essential to how some sites operate.
The proposal in the FTC report involved providing a setting similar
to a persistent cookie on a consumer's browser and conveying that
setting to sites that the browser visits. This was far from the first
time the idea of a Do Not Track feature came up. In 2007, privacy
groups petitioned the FTC to implement it.
Meanwhile, a recent report highlighted the extent to which some popular sites, such as YouPorn, sniff browser histories
and track user activity.
Microsoft said it plans to work with the online advertising community and privacy advocates.
"With all of the discussion both coming out of the FTC and elsewhere
in the world about the role of browsers in the privacy space, we wanted
to share our approach to protecting people from online tracking now so
that the various stakeholders could provide feedback and could begin
building lists before the feature ships in the release candidate of
Internet Explorer 9," Hachamovitch said.