Microsoft Again Under Fire For Having Do Not Track On By Default

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, this is probably something that Microsoft may be thinking right about now. The software titan has once again come under criticism for how it implemented the Do No Track feature in Internet Explorer.

This privacy feature was implemented in the latest version of IE. But the fact that Microsoft was adamant on keeping this option on by default, resulted in disapproval, particularly from advertisers.

Once again, the advertising industry has criticized both Microsoft and Mozilla for this little adventure.

Mozilla too, as you may well be aware, has employed the DNT feature in Firefox. However, it provides users with an option to enable it after installation if they want. Latest statistics show that around 17 percent of Firefox users have done so.

According to a report over at MediaPost, General Counsel Harvey Anderson told a Senate committee that the crux of the problem is that most advertising networks are completely ignoring the Do Not Track feature altogether. The end result is that this is affecting the very practicality of the feature itself.

What happens is that browsers that are using the DNT feature are only communicating with web servers, informing them that users do now want their details transferred.

This in turn means that it all comes down to the websites to decide whether they want to honor the Do Not Track feature or not — some do, but several websites have chosen to disregard this completely.

Twitter and Associated Press are examples of the sites that do honor it, while Internet giant Yahoo! has made it absolutely clear that it plans to ignore such a feature entirely.

The managing director of Digital Advertising Alliance, Lou Mastria believes that both Microsoft and Mozilla are at fault for the decision of websites to ignore the DNT signal.

Microsoft’s decision in particular to make Do Not Track always-on has started to hurt advertiser’s business, and their only chance is to ignore this option and continue tracking user’s data.

Despite all this, Microsoft continues to maintain that the DNT feature in Internet Explorer puts users in control of the content they see while browsing the web, and the Redmond-based technology company plans on sticking with this option for future versions of its browser.

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