Internet Explorer 9, which is currently available as a ‘public beta’, now features a system that stops websites from tracking users online.
Called Tracking Protection, the feature will be an ‘opt-in’ option for users of the browser. It will utilise Tracking Protection Lists (TPLs), so that users can control which third-party websites can track their internet usage and to what extent.
Lists will also be published online, so users that don’t want to block websites manually can rely on the work of the web community to identify websites that need to be blocked.
Dean Hachamovitch from Microsoft explained:
‘Anyone or any organization can create a TPL (it is just a file that can be placed on a website) and consumers can add and remove lists as they see fit, having more than one if they wish. To keep everyone’s experience up to date, the browser will automatically check for updates to lists on a regular basis.
‘One change from similar features in IE8 is that once a consumer has added a list, Tracking Protection remains enabled across browsing sessions until the consumer turns it off.’
Addressing privacy concerns
Microsoft feels this new feature will address many of the privacy concerns that have been highlighted in recent weeks and months.
Which? has reported on many such issues recently, including a potential data protection breach by the NHS Choices website in adding Facebook’s ‘Like’ button.
Recently the US Federal Trade Commission also highlighted that privacy regulation was insufficient at present, and suggested a ‘do not track’ button for web consumers as the answer. Microsoft’s solution appears to be a variation on that theme.
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