Continuing our commitment to privacy and consumer choice with Do Not Track
Posted by Brendon Lynch
Chief Privacy Officer, Microsoft
As part of our ongoing commitment to privacy, Microsoft has included improvements to our support of the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Do Not Track (DNT) effort in the Windows 8.1 Preview released at Microsoft’s Build conference last week.
Specifically, the new version of Internet Explorer (included with the Windows 8.1 Preview) is the first major browser to implement User-Granted Exceptions from the W3C's Tracking Protection Working Group’s specification effort. The Do Not Track exceptions capability in Internet Explorer, which we refer to as the “permissions API” (application programming interface), enables websites to ask for an exception to a consumer’s DNT setting and provides a mechanism for that permission to be stored and communicated to the website in the future. Enabling consumers to grant permission to a particular website or service for collection and use of their information, even when DNT is on for other sites, reflects feedback that we heard clearly during discussions. You can try out the new functionality, when using the Windows 8.1 Preview, here.
This work demonstrates Microsoft's ongoing commitment and engagement to the W3C's Tracking Protection Working Group’s efforts to define a DNT standard. The group is gathering a final set of outstanding issues with the goal of a summer “Last Call for Comments.” We also participate in broader conversations about DNT, such as last week’s Do Not Track conference hosted by Consumer Action in Washington, D.C., where we participated in a panel discussion.
The new version of Internet Explorer has the same behavior as previous versions with respect to DNT being enabled (customers can choose “Custom Settings” during setup to turn DNT off if they’d like). We have added additional ways to change the Do Not Track setting in Internet Explorer for people who want to change it. They can now set their “Do Not Track” preference in Internet Explorer 11 from the “Privacy” panel in “Settings” or from the “Safety” menu on the desktop.
As part of our ongoing commitment to privacy, we will continue to listen to our customers; engage with industry, consumer groups, policymakers and academia; and evolve our products. We look forward to continuing to innovate on privacy and provide the protections and choices our customers want.