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Microsoft says it will disable Do Not Track by default in its browsers

Microsoft says it will disable Do Not Track by default in its browsers

by AshwinApril 4, 2015

Microsoft has backtracked on its commitment to the privacy standard called , Do Not Track (DNT).

DNT is a feature which prevents websites from tracking a user’s activities, to distribute ads.

The Redmond company announced today, that it will be disabling the DNT feature, as the default setting in its browsers.

This is what Brendon Lynch, Chief Privacy Officer, Microsoft wrote in a blog post:

Microsoft is changing how Do Not Track (DNT) is implemented in future versions of our browsers: We will no longer enable it as the default state in Windows Express Settings So Internet Explorer.

So DNT will be disabled by default in new computers, as well as when Windows or Internet Explorer are updated. However, it will still be available as a choice in the browsers. All you have to do is open the settings and enable the feature.

How to enable Do Not Track in Internet Explorer:

1. Open Internet Explorer and left click on the settings button, or press Alt +X.

2. Click on Safety

3. Click on Tracking Protection, which should open the Manage add-ons box.

4. Click on personalized list, and enable it.


Now back to Lynch’s statement, worth noting in it, is the word “Browsers”, in the plural, which clearly refers to Internet Explorer and Project Spartan, Microsoft’s new default browser, which made its public debut in the latest build of Windows 10 Technical Preview.

This is a move to keep up with today’s standards,writes Lynch, emphasing on the draft which says,

“The basic principle is that a tracking preference expression is only transmitted when it reflects a deliberate choice by the user. In the absence of user choice, there is no tracking preference expressed. (Emphasis added.)”

And let’s face it, DNT is dead, in fact it never clicked off.  It has been on the back burner for more than three years, since its short lived days after it was introduced in Internet Explorer 10. DNT faced severe criticism from advertisers who claimed it hurt the economy.But Microsoft didn’t give up, and insisted that the consumer’s privacy is their top priority.

It is sad to see that the company is surrendering now, but first it is important to understand why the decision is essential.

Lynch writes that,

We are updating our approach to DNT to eliminate any misunderstanding about whether our chosen implementation will comply with the W3C standard.

DNT is not something which guarantees privacy at the user’s end.  It is merely a setting which when enabled, allows the browser to send a request to the website, saying that the user does not want to be tracked. Whether the website complies with the request or not is actually the real issue here, and most websites don’t.

DNT isn’t an IE or Spartan exclusive, it is also available in Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari and Opera browsers.