The feature, known as Tracking Protection, will enable users to prevent their browsing habits being tracked by advertising networks and other third-party websites.
“By designing these sorts of enhancements with privacy in mind at the design phase, we’re able to deliver a functionality that provides consumers additional levels of control over what they want to engage in and how they choose to do so,” Microsoft chief privacy strategist Peter Cullen said. “We believe that the combination of consumer control, an open platform for publishing and Tracking Protection Lists, including lists that allow ‘calls’, offer progress and a good balance between empowering consumers and online industry needs.”
Browser users are free to create their own Tracking Protection lists that include the sites that will not be allowed to set cookies, an option that is the browsing equivalent of a preference service list. It will also allow users to compile “OK to contact” lists of sites that have permission to track browsing habits.
Behaviourial advertising has become a highly controversial practice. Many observers believe it contravenes data protection legislation as Web users cannot currently opt-out of being tracked. Earlier this week, the US Federal Trade Commission called for the introduction of a “do not track” facility, while the EC is also investigating the practice, having branded it “deplorable”
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