Microsoft responds to ad companies complaints about DNT

Earlier this week, Microsoft chief privacy officer Brendon Lynch wrote a blog post on the company's legal site where he described how Windows 8 users will set up Internet Explorer 10. Specifically, he talked about how choosing “Express Settings” will enable the "Do Not Track" option for IE 10. Lynch also said IE 10 users will be given the option to turn off Do Not Track if they wish in the "Customize" menu.

This blog post didn't sit well with Internet advertising companies, which have already been critical of Microsoft's approach with IE 10. Those same ad companies have claimed that this setting on the web browser would "undercut thriving business models, and reduce the availability and diversity of the Internet products and services."

In a separate blog post this week on Microsoft's Privacy and Safety website, Lynch expands on the company's feelings on this subject, saying, "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."

Lynch also said that an earlier claim that the World Wide Web Consortium had rejected the idea that the default Do No Track standard for web browsers would violate its standards was false. Lynch said, "More precisely, the specification has not been completed by the Working Group, and there is no official DNT standard today. We believe the W3C working group should continue to develop this standard."

Lynch said that Microsoft is "firmly committed" to working with the W3C to help them create policies that would govern Do Not Track set ups in web browsers. Indeed, he says that Microsoft itself will host the next W3C meeting in September.

Source: Microsoft Privacy and Safety blog

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This is all crap.

There is a body pontificating over a very simple question that a 5 year old with a basic knowledge of right and wrong could answer in 1 minute about a control that can be ignored, isn't likely to become law/enforceable anyways.

Next up on Neowin - if you use IE10 on Win 8, it's an automatic ban, because you are hurting its business. Like when someone admits to using an AdBlocker.

Leo (DerpDerp) said,
Next up on Neowin - if you use IE10 on Win 8, it's an automatic ban, because you are hurting its business. Like when someone admits to using an AdBlocker.
It doesn't hurt Neowin, ads still get displayed.. it just hurts the ones paying to display them, because they can't target them..

That said, it only applies if they respect the DNT Flag, which few do..

Leo (DerpDerp) said,
Next up on Neowin - if you use IE10 on Win 8, it's an automatic ban, because you are hurting its business. Like when someone admits to using an AdBlocker.

From what I understand Neowin isn't a business but a website that only needs enough revenue to make ends meet plus a few sponsors. I've got nothing against advertising btw as long as they're not in my face, distracting or auto play video/audio on loading a web page.

any notice that when standards are being drafted about tracking people, the people themselves are not represented at all, but rather only the people who want to track them?

This is a step forward to say the least.

TruckWEB said,
Yeah, Ad-Block, problem solved.

When I need something, I go buy it. I don't need ads to tell me what to buy.


I do my part, I do click on the ads if I bing/google something and I happen to want to go there anyways. every useless click (as I was going there anyways from first search result) costs them money!

TruckWEB said,
Yeah, Ad-Block, problem solved.

When I need something, I go buy it. I don't need ads to tell me what to buy.

I second that - and as soon as an ad has an obnoxious flashing or auto playing a video I refuse to buy any of their products. I really would love to know who these f-cking idiots are who design these ads given that they do more to dissuade me from purchasing their products more than anything else.

Anyone else not care because ad-block takes care of this problem for you? I can't even remember the last time I clicked an advertisement, and when I did, there was a 99.9% chance it was accidental.

This is a tough one for Libertarian privacy "experts". They hate Microsoft. And they hate advertising agencies. Perhaps that is why this forum topic is strangely quiet.

Can't help but think this may be about hurting Google rather than MS caring about it's users, actually it might be a bit of both.

thealexweb said,
Can't help but think this may be about hurting Google rather than MS caring about it's users, actually it might be a bit of both.

If only Google where actually part of the DAA and the was one of those whining about this... I'm not even sure if Google's ads use tracking... either way, thy're not part of the Ads whining association.

simplezz said,
Microsoft not following standards once again, why am I not surprised.

In all honesty, f*ck your standards if those include following each and every step I make. Go live in Apple land and be happy being tracked.

simplezz said,
Microsoft not following standards once again, why am I not surprised.

You would think MS would get some support for this, but being MS whatever they do will always be the wrong thing. Strange, Very strange

simplezz said,
Microsoft not following standards once again, why am I not surprised.

Per the article, "More precisely, the specification has not been completed by the Working Group, and there is no official DNT standard today." So why am I not surprised it's instant Microsoft bashing, and apparently even defending advertisers over user privacy...

simplezz said,
Microsoft not following standards once again, why am I not surprised.

Ignoring the fact that you didn't read the article, any standard that demotes privacy is a worthless standard.

alwaysonacoffebreak said,

In all honesty, f*ck your standards if those include following each and every step I make. Go live in Apple land and be happy being tracked.

Tracking isn't ideal but is absolutely essential to keeping the web's services free, only Microsoft can afford to keep it's online business unprofitable forever. Google and Yahoo need targeted ads for most of their revenue.

simplezz said,
Microsoft not following standards once again, why am I not surprised.

Wow you must REALLY hate Mozilla and Crhome and Webkit for all those nonstandard HTML 5 crap they put in their browsers

Seriously...

thealexweb said,

Tracking isn't ideal but is absolutely essential to keeping the web's services free, only Microsoft can afford to keep it's online business unprofitable forever. Google and Yahoo need targeted ads for most of their revenue.

No they don't you don't need to track users to target ads. Best way, better than even tracking is to simply show ads based on what the users is looking at , tech ads on tech sites and such.

thealexweb said,

Tracking isn't ideal but is absolutely essential to keeping the web's services free, only Microsoft can afford to keep it's online business unprofitable forever. Google and Yahoo need targeted ads for most of their revenue.

If your business model is based on being invasive with creepy ads that require harvesting and selling personal information, your social habits and search patterns then your business model is broken and you deserve to go bankrupt. Google and Yahoo going bankupt is no lose, the world would keep on ticking; pleanty of services available that offer equal features.

Regardless of Microsofts intentions, if they are setup to hurt Google or not, the end result is the same either through voluntary measures or through legislation the ability for advertisers to use creepy tactics and SPY on website visitors is coming to an end and the end user benefits from less data gathering and selling of their private data.

I dont mind paying for services I use; if your service isnt viable enough to be commercialized through payment then your content simply is poor and shouldnt be subsidized by the privacy of people unknowling having their data shared with a warehouse that does nothing but sells this data to the highest paying bidder.

Edited by , Aug 10 2012, 9:52pm :

HawkMan said,

No they don't you don't need to track users to target ads. Best way, better than even tracking is to simply show ads based on what the users is looking at , tech ads on tech sites and such.

That doesn't work as well, say on a tech site they you know through your habits that a user really likes Windows PCs there's little point of showing them ads for Macs,

pgxl said,

..
this
do want to add: Its funny, because MS can do this and has the power to fight this (and google) to the ground

GO MS! I do love my privacy

pgxl said,

If your business model is based on being invasive with creepy ads that require harvesting and selling personal information, your social habits and search patterns then your business model is broken and you deserve to go bankrupt. Google and Yahoo going bankupt is no lose, the world would keep on ticking; pleanty of services available that offer equal features.

Regardless of Microsofts intentions, if they are setup to hurt Google or not, the end result is the same either through voluntary measures or through legislation the ability for advertisers to use creepy tactics and SPY on website visitors is coming to an end and the end user benefits from less data gathering and selling of their private data.

I dont mind paying for services I use; if your service isnt viable enough to be commercialized through payment then your content simply is poor and shouldnt be subsidized by the privacy of people unknowling having their data shared with a warehouse that does nothing but sells this data to the highest paying bidder.

The end user won't benefit though will they? Some people on this site might be willing to pay for email, social networking but the overwhelming majority pick ad supported free services because they'd rather keep their money and they aren't afraid of the big scarey companies knowing info about them.

thealexweb said,

That doesn't work as well, say on a tech site they you know through your habits that a user really likes Windows PCs there's little point of showing them ads for Macs,

Or you know the advertiser could target their ads to sites that specifically cater to the demographic they are looking for. Want to target mac users then advertise on a site like macrumors - the rest of us dont need to give up our privacy to subsidize poor content that cant afford paying subscribers.

thealexweb said,

The end user won't benefit though will they? Some people on this site might be willing to pay for email, social networking but the overwhelming majority pick ad supported free services because they'd rather keep their money and they aren't afraid of the big scarey companies knowing info about them.

Actually they will, we would have websites that put out information regardless of monetary needs - wikipedia is clearly an example of an ad-free experience and requests donations. The information there is of high quality.

What would happen is less clutter and less crap websites setup specfiically as adbased sites that do nothing but steal your data without your knowledge and provide stolen and scraped content. That consolidation means people would either pay for their content or they would go to the free source of information that is funded through donation (like wikipedia).

There are millions of websites on the internet that are setup not to make money but to give back information only.

Simpy if your business model is based on harming your end users without their knowledge then your free ride is coming to an end; no tears will be shed.

pgxl said,

Or you know the advertiser could target their ads to sites that specifically cater to the demographic they are looking for. Want to target mac users then advertise on a site like macrumors - the rest of us dont need to give up our privacy to subsidize poor content that cant afford paying subscribers.

Without targeted adverts a massive chunk of advertising revenue would simply vanish, it would cripple small projects and indie developers who can't attract enough users to get subscriptions.

Also Neowin would suffer because of it's reliance on Google Ads, no way in hell Neowin would survive just on subscription revenue.

thealexweb said,

Without targeted adverts a massive chunk of advertising revenue would simply vanish, it would cripple small projects and indie developers who can't attract enough users to get subscriptions.

Also Neowin would suffer because of it's reliance on Google Ads, no way in hell Neowin would survive just on subscription revenue.

You can have targeted ads without needing cross-site tracking. Content on the page where the ad is being served can be used to determine what should be shown in most cases. The ad agency doesn't need to know that you were just on 4chan/d/ and juggsjoy to advertise to you effectively when you are browsing neowin

thealexweb said,

Without targeted adverts a massive chunk of advertising revenue would simply vanish, it would cripple small projects and indie developers who can't attract enough users to get subscriptions.

Also Neowin would suffer because of it's reliance on Google Ads, no way in hell Neowin would survive just on subscription revenue.

I'm an indie software developer and I'm not going out of business anytime soon. All my revenue is through sales; I dont believe in harming my customers by giving away their privacy; apparently you do. Your argument is also ridiculous; indies dont get enough traffic to generate enough money from ads as it is. Either their product evenually sells enough copies or they get donations to fund themselves; begging for users to click on ads isnt ever going to add to any substantial revenue.

If the content of the website isnt high enough quality to get monetary donations or subscriptions then it needs to go bankrupt; it doesnt need to steal & warehouse data from its end-users.

What you are arguing is that there are tons of websites out there with very low quality content that simply wont be able to make it without stealing from their website visitors. DNT either through voluntary measures or through legislation is going to get rid of all the adsense trash websites out there that do nothing but pollute the web with crap.

pgxl said,

snip

Wikipedia constantly has financial worries over whether or not it's latest funding round has raised enough cash, it would be terrible if every website had a cloud of uncertainty hanging over it.

Also you seem to miss a point, the average cares if nine out of ten of their favourite websites go under due to bankruptcy, while they don't give a crap about what information is gathered from websites their using.

thealexweb said,

Wikipedia constantly has financial worries over whether or not it's latest funding round has raised enough cash, it would be terrible if every website had a cloud of uncertainty hanging over it.

Also you seem to miss a point, the average cares if nine out of ten of their favourite websites go under due to bankruptcy, while they don't give a crap about what information is gathered from websites their using.

Umm there is no 'concern', they have consistently made their fund raising goals. There are tons of websites out there right now that have a 'cloud' over financial stability right now and are adbased; having ads doesnt mean your content automatically draws in more users to make your site economically viable.

You seem to be missing a point; most people simply are unaware the large amounts of data being warehoused about them and blindly accept they cant do anything about it. Perhaps giving them an option to 'opt-in' to being a tool should be an option - but it should clearly be an opt-in option; if you want the free servcie then you opt-in and give away privacy otherwise you dont get access to the website or you choose to pay to get the content.

thealexweb said,

Tracking isn't ideal but is absolutely essential to keeping the web's services free, only Microsoft can afford to keep it's online business unprofitable forever. Google and Yahoo need targeted ads for most of their revenue.

No ****, Sherlock. So now you can take a wild guess why MS enables DNT by default.

pgxl said,

You seem to be missing a point; most people simply are unaware the large amounts of data being warehoused about them and blindly accept they cant do anything about it. Perhaps giving them an option to 'opt-in' to being a tool should be an option - but it should clearly be an opt-in option; if you want the free servcie then you opt-in and give away privacy otherwise you dont get access to the website or you choose to pay to get the content.

That would be a good experiment, take a news site, opt-in to targeted ads and access it for free or pay $9.99 a month and no ads, 99% would pick the free option.

bviktor said,

No ****, Sherlock. So now you can take a wild guess why MS enables DNT by default.

I was being discrete xD Accusing Microsoft of monopolistic tactics doesn't go down well with the fanboys here xD

thealexweb said,

I was being discrete xD Accusing Microsoft of monopolistic tactics doesn't go down well with the fanboys here xD

Bwahahaa

thealexweb said,

That doesn't work as well, say on a tech site they you know through your habits that a user really likes Windows PCs there's little point of showing them ads for Macs,

Well except. Most Mac users used to be windows users. it's kind of pointless to advertise Macs to those who have already converted to the religion.

thealexweb said,

That would be a good experiment, take a news site, opt-in to targeted ads and access it for free or pay $9.99 a month and no ads, 99% would pick the free option.

You still haven't touched on why ads need to be tracked to be targeted. The issue at hand is not that these ads are paying attention to what kind of website the user is on, and therefore showing relevant ads, but that many of these ads track users across unrelated sites WITHOUT their knowledge, their consent or understanding of reasons as to why it's needed or what is being taken. There is no opt out of this tracking short of a user blocking the ads altogether, which hurts revenue far more than having ads that follow this rule.

THIS IS NOT ADBLOCK, these rules that the WC3 is reviewing and that MS is pushing do not block ads. hell, they don't really do much at all. The spec gives browsers a way to say "Hey advertisers, I'd appreciate it if you didn't follow my movements around the web. You can still advertise to me, I just don't want you to know my movements"

thealexweb said,

Wikipedia constantly has financial worries over whether or not it's latest funding round has raised enough cash, it would be terrible if every website had a cloud of uncertainty hanging over it.

Also you seem to miss a point, the average cares if nine out of ten of their favourite websites go under due to bankruptcy, while they don't give a crap about what information is gathered from websites their using.


Erm wrong example. Wikipedia isn't going anywhere. Someone with plenty of money will jump in to save it no matter what. Even if its just for publicity. Be it Google, MS, Apple (well probably not).

Many websites and services are just there because they're easy cash cows.

thealexweb said,

The end user won't benefit though will they? Some people on this site might be willing to pay for email, social networking but the overwhelming majority pick ad supported free services because they'd rather keep their money and they aren't afraid of the big scarey companies knowing info about them.

Well you have the option to opt-in now vs out have fun. There is also no law that requires them to listen to this standard anyways. So its really not hurting anyone yet unless it becomes law.

ShiZZa said,

Well you have the option to opt-in now vs out have fun. There is also no law that requires them to listen to this standard anyways. So its really not hurting anyone yet unless it becomes law.


Yes there are laws. The Netherlands recently passed a internet privacy law that requires a website to let the use choose wether or not they want to accept 3rd party cookies. This is also on an Opt-Out basis.
The DNT header has legal backing in The Netherlands. And IIRC more countries will get this, and they are working on bringing this into the EU.

If a user logs into the website, allow tracking. If the user is just browsing, detect someone was there, but NO cookies!

mdtaUK said,
If a user logs into the website, allow tracking. If the user is just browsing, detect someone was there, but NO cookies!

By all means track a user within a site but you shouldn't be automatically tracked when you leave that site regardless of whether you logged in or not.