Microsoft has finally decided to back down. The editor will no longer activate “Do Not Track” by default on its browsers. Neither on Internet Explorer, nor on Spartan. Why ? To respect the standards decreed by the W3C.
The online advertising industry has evolved a lot over the years. Simple ad displays have disappeared in favor of personalized campaigns capable of targeting internet users based on their tastes, searches and browsing history.
Faced with the development of these new methods, three researchers (Christopher Soghoian, Sid Stamm and Dan Kaminsky) worked on a mechanism designed to protect the Internet user.
Everything relies on an HTTP header field
This mechanism is quite simple and it ultimately relies on the use of an HTTP header field. Through it, the user can signal to websites that he does not wish to be tracked.
Mozilla was the first to support the project and integrate it into its browser, Firefox. It was quickly joined, in order, by Microsoft, Apple, Opera and Chrome. However, the Redmond company went a little further than its competitors and thus decided to activate this field by default on Internet Explorer 10 in 2012.
The affair had made a lot of noise at the time and all the advertising lobbies had stepped up to the plate. Yahoo had even banged its fist on the table. Microsoft has stayed the course, and it even maintained this configuration on Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.
But all this will soon be ancient history, at least if one believes the last note published by Brendon Lynch, head of privacy from the publisher. Against all expectations, the firm has effectively decided to go back and the “Do Not Track” will no longer be activated by default on its browsers. This applies to Internet Explorer, of course, but also and above all for the famous Project Spartan.
Contrary to what one might think, if Microsoft made this decision, it is not to satisfy the advertising lobbies, but rather to respect W3C standards. The famous institution makes it clear, the DNT must imperatively reflect “the user's preference” . No one can (and should) substitute for his desire, even to protect it.