Could the W3C stop IE 10's Do Not Track plans?

A number of days ago. Microsoft announced that for the Windows 8 version of Internet Explorer 10, it would set the Do Not Track (DNT) feature as enabled by default. The idea was to keep user information as private as possible. This plan was slammed by the the Internet ad trade group the Digital Advertising Alliance, who feels that Microsoft's decision could "undermine" the balance of self regulation by ad companies.

Now News.com reports that a proposed standards revision by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) could bar IE 10 and any other web browser from having Do Not Track set as the default. The standards proposal says at one point that the "user agent" (their term for a web browser)  could not send out "a Tracking Preference signal without a user's explicit consent."

On the surface, that means that if this standards proposal is approved, Microsoft could not offer Do Not Track as the default on IE 10. However, Aleecia McDonald, a co-chair of the W3C Tracking Protection Working Group, stated in the group's minutes that " ... it will be quite a while before we have a final recommendation with which to comply or not."

For its part, a Microsoft spokesperson said of the W3C's proposal, "We are engaged with the W3C, as we are with many international standards bodies. While we respect the W3C's perspective, we believe that a standard should support a privacy by default choice for consumers."

Source: News.com

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29 Comments

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Well, I don't know about this by IMHO ALL browsers should explain/offer to users the opportunity to turn DNT on/off at start-up time. I think that's the fairest and best approach.

"This plan was slammed by the the Internet ad trade group the Digital Advertising Alliance, who feels that Microsoft's decision could "undermine" the balance of self regulation by ad companies."

Because they TOTALLY do this...

Why doesn't Anonymous pick targets that deserve it?

S_Herbie said,
Set it to Off as default, but on first use ask the user if they want to turn it on...

Exactly. First use of IE10:

Do you want to allow nasty horrible advertising companies to be able to track your actions across all websites or not (despite the fact that the W3C thinks they should be able to invade your privacy)?

[o] YES [o] NO

Slugsie said,

Exactly. First use of IE10:

Do you want to allow nasty horrible advertising companies to be able to track your actions across all websites or not (despite the fact that the W3C thinks they should be able to invade your privacy)?

[o] YES [o] NO

Without targeted ads the amount of money made from advertising will plummet and a lot of good free services will disapear or go premium

jbrooksuk said,
I'm all for them to enable DNT by default. Stupid consortium.

Why? If we're going to have it enabled by default, then the DNT feature needs to be completely revamped. It would be better to have a DT (do track) header and use legislation to disallow tracking by default. That would save needing to wait bytes every time you connect to a Web page.

Since when has any standards body such as this “forced” anyone to do anything? Microsoft, and everyone else, picks and chooses exactly which parts of a standard they want to follow, and one could say Microsoft has a very strong history of not following standards when they think a different way about something. Especially W3C standards, which both Microsoft and Google have a hand in not obeying when it suits them, even if it is with the intent of having their changes become part of the standard.

lol W3C is a blip on the map, they are no one to force anyone to do anything. They can give suggestions but thats about it.

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
lol W3C is a blip on the map, they are no one to force anyone to do anything. They can give suggestions but thats about it.

I don't think you understand. The W3C is all of the browser vendors (as well as other companies). The Mozilla Foundation designed DNT to be "opt-in". If we want DNT to be "opt-out" instead, then it will need to be redesigned. But it's quite common for browser vendors to try to influence working drafts by making their implementations slightly different.

Well Tracking Protection Lists are your response to that.
Kill W3C let Microsoft write up the standards again

Thing is, if IE is going to enable DNT by default, ad networks are going to ignore it "since it doesn't follow the standard".

dagamer34 said,
Thing is, if IE is going to enable DNT by default, ad networks are going to ignore it "since it doesn't follow the standard".

And how are they going to know if the setting was set by the user or if it was set by the user agent as a default option?


dagamer34 said,
Thing is, if IE is going to enable DNT by default, ad networks are going to ignore it "since it doesn't follow the standard".

No, they are just going to ignore it because there is no legal responsibility to comply. They lose money if they comply.

rfirth said,

No, they are just going to ignore it because there is no legal responsibility to comply. They lose money if they comply.

Exactly. Enabling DNT by default is the perfect way of ensuring that it doesn't work.

Found this interesting

"Currently, websites are not legally required to comply with do not track requests, neither by law nor by broad social consensus, and therefore very few websites recognize and respect this privacy signal."

th3r3turn said,
Found this interesting

"Currently, websites are not legally required to comply with do not track requests, neither by law nor by broad social consensus, and therefore very few websites recognize and respect this privacy signal."

Yet... Not saying it should be made law or not, just saying, I wouldn't be surprised if it did in the future.

th3r3turn said,
Found this interesting

"Currently, websites are not legally required to comply with do not track requests, neither by law nor by broad social consensus, and therefore very few websites recognize and respect this privacy signal."

The whole concept is mostly useless. It's like that motherboard that came out a few years ago with hardware anti-cheat detection, the only people that would buy that motherboard are the one's who wouldn't cheat anyway! Similarly, all those websites that use your information for evil plans will simply ignore DNT and keep doing what they're doing.

Ryoken said,
Yet... Not saying it should be made law or not, just saying, I wouldn't be surprised if it did in the future.

Its actually a law in The Netherlands since June 1st

It probably should be on by default.. and MS has more control over webstandards than the W3C..

If they push it, they could end up with Chrome being the only browser to have it enabled by default.. As I can easily see Apple, Mozilla, and Opera [ and it's 17 users ] also making Do Not Track default..

As long as it's an OPTION, it's none of the w3c's business.. Or maybe after this they want to dictate what the default homepage is ?

MS doesn't have any more control than Mozilla or Apple, if a majority of browsers do something then the W3C will change the spec, but the W3C is just made up of the browser makers anyway.

Anyway, this would just be a recommendation, the specs make reference to browser settings, but they aren't "set in stone" by any means.

nub said,
What? The hell are they going to do? They can't do **** even if they wanted to.

Exactly. The W3C can't stop anything. They only make recommendations. And considering that this is hardly an important standard to follow (much better not followed)... you'd thing think that people would finally be praising IE10 for not being standards compliant in this respect!

rfirth said,

Exactly. The W3C can't stop anything. They only make recommendations. And considering that this is hardly an important standard to follow (much better not followed)... you'd thing think that people would finally be praising IE10 for not being standards compliant in this respect!

Sadly it doesn't work like this. IE4 and IE6 both adopted non-standard items that Microsoft proposed and were rejected, but were 'features' of both products that made them popular and eventually were adopted by the W3C about 5 years ago.

So everyone still talks about how IE4 or IE6 was not standards compliant and blah blah blah; however, some of the things it 'broke' were things we are using today in HTML5 and even how fonts and errors and the DOM works.

IE4 wrote the DOM we use, yet back then it was 'BAD', and it was also bad because it supported 'fonts', that is essential to HTML5 today.

There is also the AJAX and other technologies of IE4, IE5, IE6, XHTML, and tons of other things that were bad in the late 90s, but became GOOD when re-submitted to the W3C around 2005.

Also don't forget the HTML/XML technologies of Office 2000 that predate OpenDocument and is where OfficeXML comes from, but it was seen as BAD then too.
* Sun and their political partners forced Microsoft to NOT use the XML file formats for Word in 1999 as default because they were afraid Microsoft would replace the Web with 'HTML DOC' files. They worked so easily that Netscape and IE at the time could open, view, and even do some edits of Word documents without having a Word viewer. Sun made the 'con' good though, at least until they could get StarOffice going and then use it for OpenDocument a few years later, while telling the world that Microsoft was the one lying, and OfficeXML was too new of a technology to be trusted.


Even now IE9 and IE10 are NOT using WebGL because of the massive security implications of exposing the GPU to web sites, and yet Microsoft and IE are MARKED DOWN in HTML5 testing for this, and WebGL has NOTHING to do with HTML5.

thenetavenger said,
IE4 wrote the DOM we use, yet back then it was 'BAD', and it was also bad because it supported 'fonts', that is essential to HTML5 today.

The DOM is a ****ing awful API. The concept of a DOM is good, but the implementation leaves a lot to be desired.