Microsoft said on Tuesday that it is introducing tracking protection technology in the next version of Internet Explorer 9.
Tracking protection is a new feature in Internet Explorer 9 that will allow consumers to address their concerns about being tracked on the web. Microsoft will introduce the new technology in Internet Explorer 9 Release Candidate (RC) in early 2011. Internet Explorer 9 will offer users a new opt-in mechanism to identify and block many forms of undesired tracking such as cookies, web beacons, advertisements and trackers. Tracking protection will involve lists that can be published online.
Tracking protection will work by allowing users to create lists of sites that are protected from being tracked by other sites via cookies and other means. Microsoft expects technical users to create lists initially followed by consumers once Internet Explorer 9 is generally available.
Microsoft says interoperability is key to the new technology. Dean Hachamovitch, head of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer team, revealed that the software giant plans to detail the technology to allow competitors to create similar features that use the same mark-up. Hachamovitch said Microsoft will release documentation under the creative commons license. Hachamovitch answered questions around the Tracking Protection use during a conference call on Tuesday. “There’s no feature in IE with 100% usage, no features with 0% usage. Opening links in new tabs, not 100%. 100s of million of folks that use the product in different ways. We’ll be watching the telemetry data very closely.”
Microsoft’s Tracking Protection is an answer to the Federal Trade Commission’s recent report on consumer privacy online. Microsoft says it has been engaged in a dialogue over privacy with the FTC for some time. The report called for a discussion surrounding methods for controlling online tracking. Microsoft is seeking feedback on its implementation and welcomes partners, customers and competitors to assist with this. “We designed this feature so that consumers have a clear, straight forward, opt-in mechanism to enable a higher degree of control over sharing their browsing information AND websites can provide easy to use lists to manage their privacy as well as experience full-featured sites,” said Hachamovitch.