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 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."


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