Do you prefer privacy, or money? The upcoming Do Not Track features included in IE10 that might be enabled by default sparks a lot of controversy
Microsoft’s decision to not track user data by default was good, I thought, though there’s now been negative reception
Microsoft made Internet Explorer 10, by default, not track users privacy in the Windows 8 Release Preview. It’s an entirely different philosophy to Google, who track data by default when using Google Chrome.
Microsoft said it prefers to side with privacy rather than advertisers, despite the potential of added revenue. The W3C’s current working draft for the DNT specification says it has to be enabled by default, as a user should decide not to be tracked. Personally I think that’s a load of rubbish, because Microsoft is benefiting the users whether they know it or not.
However, the W3C did qualify by saying the specification is a draft only. I’d honestly be surprised if Microsoft was forced to change it, and it would be unfair if Microsoft was criticised and Google wasn’t approached. I’d argue tracking data is much more dangerous than not tracking.
Microsoft said it favored privacy because if it created a setting then the company would have to decide on an initial default. The company said it did agree that software should favor user choice, but wanted to enable privacy by default.
Not Disabled, Provide User Choice
The W3C doesn’t want the setting to be off, instead wanting to allow users to choose. I don’t think it’s that big an issue, and I’m surprised it’s blown up the way it has since the Release Preview released. Google Chrome is incredibly popular and it tracks data, so I think consumers are comfortable either way.
The ICO’s head of business policy said that it hopes future browsers will have the option, and makes it clear to consumer how they can the policy. As PC Pro points out, UK laws could mean the Do Not Track which requires sites to get content from users.
We’ll have to sit tight to see if Microsoft budgets, or whether it maintains its stance but makes the available options clear to consumers. Whether consumers will actually care is another question entirely because, honestly, I wouldn’t care if I was a casual consumer. The Windows 8 Release Preview is available, and is a better preview of the near-final OS.