Microsoft Adds Browser Privacy Tools, Lets Users Make `Do-Not-Call' Lists
Microsoft Corp. said it will add features to its Internet Explorer browser that let users better protect their privacy online by creating “Do Not Call” lists for the Internet.
Internet Explorer 9 will bar listed websites from tracking what users do on the Web, said Dean Hachamovitch, a Microsoft vice president who’s in charge of Internet Explorer. The controls also impose limits on what content blocked sites can display to users.
Last week, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission called for a do-not-track option for browsing and pressed advertisers to make data practices clearer for users. Currently advertisers record consumers’ movements on the Internet and compile a profile of their interests to better target ads. Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said its move to add the tools will help drive discussions on the FTC request.
The so-called Tracking Protection features will be in the near-final version of Internet Explorer 9, which will be available early next year. A test version without these features already has been released.
Anyone can create tracking lists and share them with users who want to adopt that list. Users can install multiple lists and also designate any Web pages on those lists as safe if they do want to exchange information with those sites.
Many websites display content aggregated from several other sites. If a user blocks a site, that site’s content also won’t show up when the user visits a permitted site that happens to display information from the banned one.
Online advertising revenue swelled to $12.1 billion in the first half of 2010, up 11 percent from the same period a year earlier, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
While Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is the most popular browser with 58 percent of the market, it has been losing considerable share to Mozilla Corp.’s Firefox and Google Inc.’s Chrome, according to Net Applications, which tracks Internet usage statistics. Firefox has 23 percent and Chrome has 9.3 percent.
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