Microsoft comes out swinging in defense for your privacy

The conversation around 'Do Not Track' has been brought in to the spotlight after Microsoft announced that by default, IE10 will enable DNT when browsing the web. To make a long argument short, advertisers were pissed off about this because they want to be able to track you so that they can deliver targeted advertisements but of course, with DNT enabled by default, this could put a dent in their CPM metrics.

What you have in one corner is the corporations and in the other corner privacy advocates and Microsoft has just penned up a post re-affirming their stance to maintain default DNT on IE and will continue to fight for this as the standard is deliberated with the W3C.

In short, we agree with those who say this is all about user choice. However, we respectfully disagree with those who argue that the default setting for DNT should favor tracking as opposed to privacy.

As of late, Microsoft has taken public steps to affirm its stance on end-user privacy and you can look to the recent SkyDrive vs GDrive privacy policy review as an example. While Internet Explorer may have previously had a negative connotation to it, with a move such as default DNT, it is bound to re-gain trust of its previous users.

Microsoft made it clear in its posts that if a consumer wants to be tracked, they certainly have that option. But the big sticking point is that by default, should your online actions be tracked? That is what Microsoft is arguing and will continue to fight for against other juggernauts who want to be able to track you at all times.

The reason this is such a hot topic is because if DNT is set by default, the majority of consumers will most likely not turn off this feature. If the default setting is not changed, a significant portion web users will be 'off the radar' for advertisers and making harder for them to get you to click their advertisements. 

Source: Microsoft

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Thank you Microsoft for respecting privacy. And kudos for finding a way to screw over Google with the support of the community behind you!

Meanwhile Microsoft is building backdoors into Windows to allow law enforcement and the government to more easily spy on individuals without their knowledge, consent, or a court issued warrant. Oh wait, that's already happened...

While it may irk you that the authorities can gain access to your computer, feel free to remember that software not made by microsoft, for a wide range of devices are all traceable.

We live in an age where without access the authorities would not be able to deal with crime properly. That isn't to say this power isn't abused or used underhandedly.

thechronic said,

While it may irk you that the authorities can gain access to your computer, feel free to remember that software not made by microsoft, for a wide range of devices are all traceable.

We live in an age where without access the authorities would not be able to deal with crime properly. That isn't to say this power isn't abused or used underhandedly.


oh? so by going with linux, unix, BSD or OSX your already imume to the government?
actually its not a question, thats exactly what your saying, as the government can only totally track and control your machine because they worked together with MS to do so on MS products. hence they did not work with the other OS developers for the same backdoors and so they cant enter my Debian PC <3 /s

Shadowzz said,

oh? so by going with linux, unix, BSD or OSX your already imume to the government?
actually its not a question, thats exactly what your saying, as the government can only totally track and control your machine because they worked together with MS to do so on MS products. hence they did not work with the other OS developers for the same backdoors and so they cant enter my Debian PC <3 /s
Actually that's the complete opposite of what he said. Note the part where he said

"software not made by microsoft, for a wide range of devices are all traceable"

Hmm, somehow that translates to "go to Linux, it's immune", I didn't know... what language are you speaking again?

Entire "Do Not Track" concept is a monumental crock of BS anyway as it depends on the website to comply with your wishes. And what's the penalty if they don't? Nothing.

Salgoth said,
Entire "Do Not Track" concept is a monumental crock of BS anyway as it depends on the website to comply with your wishes. And what's the penalty if they don't? Nothing.

1st of June, the dutch government passed a Do Not Tracking law. All dutch websites that in ANY way track the user that is NOT required for the operativity of the site. (i.e. for logged in information, preferences on the website and what not). but ALL 3rd party cookies and tracking functionality is illegal unless the user manually agrees to being tracked.

great law, and makes the DNT functionality being on in IE10 actually enforcing the dutch law for us

(funny how many dutchies are against this, because they think it cripples websites, while it doesnt)

Regardless of whether or not this is targeting Google on a PR angle or whether or not dnt is even really effective I still applaud MS, it certainly is a step in the right direction and hopefully brings a little more awareness

Doesn't really matter what Microsoft does tbh. DNT isn't legally binding or something advertisers have to abide by. They can simply choose to ignore the DNT flag and continue tracking you.

Geez, just make it a prompt on first open of IE10 after a new computer is setup or when Winodws is reloaded. Ask if the user wants to be tracked online, include the benefits of tracking (targeted ads to your interests) and the pitfalls of tracking (3rd parties have access to your information, privacy). When the user selects an option, a second prompt appears telling the user where to go to change this setting at a later time should they change their mind.

It's not like ANY advertisers is going to abide by the DNT setting unless it's set by law anyway, and even then they're going to circumvent it.

HawkMan said,
It's not like ANY advertisers is going to abide by the DNT setting unless it's set by law anyway, and even then they're going to circumvent it.
Exactly, they're just devaluing it IMO.

They don't care about mine or your privacy...

They know that privacy is the one of the 'big things' floating around the Internet these days, they're just marketing to an audience that care about privacy since the market share of IE keeps losing out to Chrome etc.

To say that they 'care', is just a fabrication of the truth.

And about the SkyDrive vs GDrive policy review, same stuff just worded differently.

Finally, somebody that gets it!

Microsoft has gone on the anti-Google rampage for a while now. They know that this whole DNT stance could sway people in their favor when it comes to privacy and it's clear with the above comments that it works. In reality, enabling DNT by default in IE10 will simply cause advertisers to ignore it completely, destroying the entire purpose for every browser, and MS probably couldn't care less.

jkroeder said,
Finally, somebody that gets it!

Microsoft has gone on the anti-Google rampage for a while now. They know that this whole DNT stance could sway people in their favor when it comes to privacy and it's clear with the above comments that it works. In reality, enabling DNT by default in IE10 will simply cause advertisers to ignore it completely, destroying the entire purpose for every browser, and MS probably couldn't care less.


what? Google rampages on MS, they created a whole browser because MS ****ed them off with the release of IE7...

I am of the opinion that "do not track" should be enabled by default.. and shouldn't have to be supported by advertisers.. it should be forced on them. User tracking should be illegal unless the user agrees to it explicitly... but that will never happen.

Andrmgic said,
I am of the opinion that "do not track" should be enabled by default.. and shouldn't have to be supported by advertisers.. it should be forced on them. User tracking should be illegal unless the user agrees to it explicitly... but that will never happen.

How are you going to force it on them. DNT is just a flag that's sent to them telling them the user does not wish to be tracked. all the tracking is server side on their end, there's nothing you can do browser side to stop the tracking. the only thing you can do is force it by law, which they'll ignore and circumvent.

I commend Microsoft for this stance and hope it does become the norm. To be honest, if advertisers simply asked and gave me some sort of incentive, I'd probably let them track me. That's why we use loyalty cards at supermarkets - we all (should) know they use them to track our purchases so they can better target their advertising and products but we don't mind because we can spend the loyalty points on stuff. An internet-wide loyalty scheme where I earn points just by BROWSING the web? Sign me up now!

If that's the case, then why aren't they changing the specification to have a "Do Track" header instead? What's the point in wasting bytes every time we connect to a Web page when they could just do that?

Why can't advertisers just ask consumers what kind of advertisements they want to view? Make it like a radio button to appears on the side of the search results or something. Why is tracking necessary for advertising?

billyea said,
Why can't advertisers just ask consumers what kind of advertisements they want to view? Make it like a radio button to appears on the side of the search results or something. Why is tracking necessary for advertising?

Tracking stops adverts for computer parts being shown to teenage mums. I'm starting to come round to the idea of targeted ads, if i have to see ads they might as well be about something that remotely interests me.

thealexweb said,

Tracking stops adverts for computer parts being shown to teenage mums. I'm starting to come round to the idea of targeted ads, if i have to see ads they might as well be about something that remotely interests me.

Then again, maybe they shouldn't show ads for computer parts on beliebersunited.com or Teenagemotherinfo.com

HawkMan said,

Then again, maybe they shouldn't show ads for computer parts on beliebersunited.com or Teenagemotherinfo.com

I've seen some really fail ads with targeted ads that arecompletely off, and along those lines yes xD

I trust Microsoft completely when it comes to security and the brand. I don't trust them when it comes to allowing users choice and integration (unless they are forced to).

MS - good but could do better. Im happy to stick around.

MS Lose32 said,
This is the first and almost definitely the last time I'll ever wish for Microsoft to go against a W3C standard.

MS doesn't "go against" W3C standards in the way you imply (DNT may be a justified, imo, exception). The standards themselves get changed and take years sometimes a decade+ to finish, and causes browsers that implement early versions to have faulty implementations. This is a bigger problem in IE because it is based on stable releases that last years vs. other browsers that update every other month, as this is more compatible with corporate and government needs. MS has commited to auto-updating users of IE in the future, but the real problem that nobody wants to talk about is why it takes years and years for W3C to make a standard stable..

MS Lose32 said,
This is the first and almost definitely the last time I'll ever wish for Microsoft to go against a W3C standard.

Don't be fooled by this stance. Microsoft isn't stupid, it knows it can get good PR as well as hurt Google at the same time. Kill two birds with one stone and all that.

Meanwhile, Google's doing everything it can to undermine your privacy and collect as much information on you as they can.

jakem1 said,
Meanwhile, Google's doing everything it can to undermine your privacy and collect as much information on you as they can.
Meanwhile Microsoft is building backdoors into Windows to allow law enforcement and the government to more easily spy on individuals without their knowledge, consent, or a court issued warrant. Oh wait, that's already happened...

jakem1 said,
Meanwhile, Google's doing everything it can to undermine your privacy and collect as much information on you as they can.

Google's got nothing on Facebook. Facebook knows more about you than Google could ever dream of!

KCRic said,
Meanwhile Microsoft is building backdoors into Windows to allow law enforcement and the government to more easily spy on individuals without their knowledge, consent, or a court issued warrant. Oh wait, that's already happened...
Proof?

KCRic said,
Meanwhile Microsoft is building backdoors into Windows to allow law enforcement and the government to more easily spy on individuals without their knowledge, consent, or a court issued warrant. Oh wait, that's already happened...

Like totally dude!!!

MS Lose32 said,

Google's got nothing on Facebook. Facebook knows more about you than Google could ever dream of!

Right, because Facebook has access to your email, your searches, the links you click on, the maps locations you look at, etc...

Anthonyd said,
Proof?

I wondered that myself so I googled it but could only find posts saying they have not enabled a Backdoor but that the FBI asked them to add one

KCRic said,
Meanwhile Microsoft is building backdoors into Windows to allow law enforcement and the government to more easily spy on individuals without their knowledge, consent, or a court issued warrant. Oh wait, that's already happened...

Just put your tin foil hat back on and go away.

Anthonyd said,
Proof?

COFEE.
An early beta version of the XP tools leaked.

Basically it's a USB stick that once plugged in runs as SYSTEM and cannot be disabled from running and can be used to get encryption keys, dump memory, etc.

Anthonyd said,
Proof?
Really? It's a known fact. MS has done this since what, Window's 95 or so? Hell, they admitted to it (indirectly from what I recall). What are you doing on a tech website when you obviously have no knowledge about technology? Let me guess, you hacked your xbox so now you think you know something.

jakem1 said,
Meanwhile, Google's doing everything it can to undermine your privacy and collect as much information on you as they can.

Say what you will about Google, at least they make it up front and clear about what data they take from you: http://www.google.com/policies/privacy/
Go into your privacy dashboard and you have a wealth of information, cleanly organised about what Google has on you as well as various ways to stop and delete it. While you might argue that they shouldn't be collecting information from you at all, ultimately it depends on how much you value a Service compared to what you're willing to give.

Ently said,

I wondered that myself so I googled it but could only find posts saying they have not enabled a Backdoor but that the FBI asked them to add one

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/sci/tech/437967.stm try that one. From back in 1999. The code was there back then. It's still under speculation whether or not they did the same thing in Windows 7 but they've been approached by at least the FBI so far about adding something like it to Windows 8.

n_K said,

COFEE.
An early beta version of the XP tools leaked.

Basically it's a USB stick that once plugged in runs as SYSTEM and cannot be disabled from running and can be used to get encryption keys, dump memory, etc.

COFEE is just a GUI wrapper for tools that law enforcement has already had and used for quite some time. MS just put it all together and made it easier for them to do their job with said tools, nothing more nothing less. It's got nothing to do with "backdoors" in Windows.

KCRic
Really? It's a known fact. MS has done this since what, Window's 95 or so? Hell, they admitted to it (indirectly from what I recall). What are you doing on a tech website when you obviously have no knowledge about technology? Let me guess, you hacked your xbox so now you think you know something.

KCRic said,
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/sci/tech/437967.stm try that one. From back in 1999. The code was there back then. It's still under speculation whether or not they did the same thing in Windows 7 but they've been approached by at least the FBI so far about adding something like it to Windows 8.

You really have no idea what you're talking about. NSAKEY was added so the NSA could use it's own encryption algorithms without giving them to MS to sign, a standard security protocol when you're dealing with top secret government computers and the codes used to encrypt their data. Saying something is "known" and people who think otherwise hack their xboxes is a pitiful argument, and doesn't prove a thing. There has never been a backdoor put into windows as far as any security researcher has ever been able to tell, so please stop spreading fud.

MS Lose32 said,

Google's got nothing on Facebook. Facebook knows more about you than Google could ever dream of!


difference is that people gave their info to facebook.. google took it from crunching numbers about your interests and your internet searches all the way to what kind of porn you watch..

KCRic said,
Let's see, a quick search brings up this old article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/sci/tech/437967.stm

That was back in '99 for those of you that seem to be new to the world of technology.

Even in that article MS denied it and it was somewhat proven to be a conspiracy. Did you read the article or the headline and the first sentence? The entire second half of the article disproves the first paragraph.

n_K said,

COFEE.
An early beta version of the XP tools leaked.

Basically it's a USB stick that once plugged in runs as SYSTEM and cannot be disabled from running and can be used to get encryption keys, dump memory, etc.

LOL, you are very uneducated regarding that tool and the security changes from XP to Win7, go put a tin foil hat on and actually do some legitimate research

Anthonyd said,
Proof?

How do you think the US and Israel have been attacking Iran's nuclear efforts? Using an ahem "exploit" in Microsoft's security certificates. And now that they have lost control of the worms/viruses, surprise surprise, a patch has been released. Tin foil hat theory perhaps, but given Microsoft's history I wouldn't be surprised if they were complicit.

simplezz said,

How do you think the US and Israel have been attacking Iran's nuclear efforts? Using an ahem "exploit" in Microsoft's security certificates. And now that they have lost control of the worms/viruses, surprise surprise, a patch has been released. Tin foil hat theory perhaps, but given Microsoft's history I wouldn't be surprised if they were complicit.

Security certificates have been exploited before from what I remember. Hell everything from OSs down to security apps like AV themselves have been hit. Why does the newest Windows exploit to be hit on a big scale (there have been others in the past that are well known and not started by governments) any different than those? It sounds to me like you're making a connection where one doesn't actually exist. It doesn't surprise me in the least that the government would have security teams, probably former hackers, getting paid to find and use exploits in software. Private individuals do this in their basement, to think the gov wouldn't on it's own is pretty naive I'd say.

GP007 said,

COFEE is just a GUI wrapper for tools that law enforcement has already had and used for quite some time. MS just put it all together and made it easier for them to do their job with said tools, nothing more nothing less. It's got nothing to do with "backdoors" in Windows.

True, COFEE is just for forensics, i.e. when they have a suspect's computer and want to extract information about it.

Good on you MS.

If they loose this, can't they just build in a little pop up window on first start informing you that you can turn the DNT option on?

Stoffel said,
Good on you MS.

If they loose this, can't they just build in a little pop up window on first start informing you that you can turn the DNT option on?

That's my thoughts, if the standard is to not have it on by default, make it one of the First Time Run options that MS usually pops up

Stoffel said,
Good on you MS.

If they loose this, can't they just build in a little pop up window on first start informing you that you can turn the DNT option on?

ya i guess .. kinda like how right now when you open an app it asks you if it can track your location