Microsoft in privacy battle over newest version of Internet Exploreron October 3, 2012 @ 2:30 pm (Updated: 3:43 pm - 10/3/12 )
Internet Explorer 10 will be released to the general public in October. GeekWire's Todd Bishop says the new design flip-flops the way users can control who gets to see their browsing habits.
"Other browsers allow users to go in and say I don't want companies to track my activity and I don't want ads tailored to me showing up when I'm online. They can opt out. But the key here is that Microsoft is turning that [blocking capability] on by default."
As a result, when people upgrade their Explorer to the new version, "It's very likely that a large swath of the population will have their tracking blocked by default."
It isn't sitting well with advertisers who use browsing habits to tailor ads that their algorithm says the user is most susceptible to.
"Some people like that, but what Microsoft is seeing is that many people don't. So they're just saying, 'okay, you like blocking, that's what we'll give you.'"
Before privacy advocates put Bill Gates on a white horse, there's more: Bishop says there's something slightly ironic about Microsoft using Explorer, which was at the center of the anti-trust attacks on the company, as a vehicle to give people "more rights on the Internet."
Bishop points out it's a matter of dollars and cents more than morality. "Internet Explorer has been steadily losing market shares so this is Microsoft's way of trying to get back in the good graces of 'Joe Internet-User.'"
It's not a done deal yet. A behind the scenes battle is raging as advertisers attempt to kill the change.
On one front, they're talking to standards bodies and federal regulators about making it much tougher for Microsoft to pull this "opt-in" system. On another front, they have a powerful ally.
According to Bishop, "There's this primary web server software that a lot of sites use called Apache. The people who run that particular piece of software don't like what Microsoft is doing and they've said they're actually going to override what Microsoft is planning to do to the new server."
Investigators, engineers, and lawmakers scramble to fix I-5 after bridge collapses
"I hit the brakes and we went off"
Washington has an unfortunate history of bridge disasters
Bonneville Media encourages site users to express their opinions by posting comments. Our goal is to maintain a civil dialogue in which readers feel comfortable. At times, the comments can descend to personal attacks. Please do not engage in such behavior. We encourage your thoughtful comments which: have a positive and constructive tone, are on topic, are respectful toward others and their opinions. Bonneville reserves the right to remove comments which do not conform to these criteria.