Microsoft may be trying to fight the perception that it is a greedy monopoly that cares for nothing but it’s own interests, which was a sentiment popularized at the time of the US Government’s antitrust lawsuit against the company a decade ago. A gesture of support for consumer privacy by Microsoft may turn out to actually harm a consumer privacy movement.
Microsoft has decided to support the “Do Not Track” settings, which is a well-supported attempt to create a Universal Web Tracking Opt Out system for browsers. They have been so emphatic in their support that the company will be making Do Not Track a default setting for all Internet Explorer users. This sounds like a good thing, but it has the advertising industry and marketers up in arms. This will make it very difficult for advertisers to target consumers with relevant ads. Perhaps this choice to make DNT a default setting is based entirely on good intentions, and if so, Microsoft may actually have killed the program before it gained full momentum.
Due to the fact that Microsoft will be making it a default setting, many companies are choosing to not abide by the DNT settings in a user’s web browser–effectively killing the program.
Since our announcement, we’ve heard from a variety of voices about our decision. We’re listening. While we remain steadfast in our decision to enable the DNT signal in IE 10, we also recognize that turning the signal on is only the first step. To achieve the full value and benefit of DNT, the industry needs to fully implement a response to the signal.
As Microsoft continues work on its own implementation, we are committed to working with others to develop a consistent, agreed upon response so that DNT works for consumers, while giving them the choice and flexibility they say they want.
Yahoo has officially declared that they will ignore Internet Explorer’s Do Not Track setting.