On IE10

Jun 4, 2012 By Scott Meyer

It’s not often that you get a range of typically divergent opinions all agreeing on the same thing. But it’s happening now with the industry reaction to Microsoft’s IE10 group’s decision to set “Do Not Track” to the “on” position by default. As we discussed in today’s AdExchanger, we firmly believe this is the wrong way to go. To be clear, we are not against “Do Not Track” in general—we support it. In conjunction with a robust privacy notice and choice system that gives consumers meaningful control over how their data is used, such as the AdChoices Program, DNT can be another good way for consumers to empower themselves. We’ve had our own version of it in the market for years now—that’s Ghostery, a browser extension that’s helping millions of people protect their privacy online right now, but doing so by giving them choice. The decision to be (or not be) tracked needs to be made by the consumer, not by a corporation. That’s why essentially every voice in this issue—from privacy advocates to the White House, browser-makers to privacy vendors like us—all agreed that DNT headers should be recognized but should allow consumers to opt out by default. Moreover, the implementation of DNT pre-set to “on” will confuse consumers, as the user experience will be different from the other browsers that give consumers the choice of whether or not they should be tracked. The primary goal of DNT, the AdChoices Program, the ePrivacy Directive and any other movement dedicated to consumer privacy is to empower people with choice and control over their online experience, not to hand down a mandate. Ideally, if these systems are built right, they promote responsible business, and don’t damage it, in the process.


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