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Microsoft to Include "Do Not Track" Feature in Internet Explorer

January 2011

Less than a week after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its report, which recommends requiring "Do Not Track" technology, Microsoft announced that it will ship Tracking Protection Lists (TPLs) as a feature in the next version of its Internet Explorer web browser.

The TPL feature, which will be turned off by default, would allow users to add lists of websites that the browser will only visit upon explicit consumer direction (such as clicking on a hyperlink or typing the address into the address bar.)  Users will be able to add their own lists or subscribe to lists provided by privacy organizations.  Internet Explorer will check for updates to those lists and adhere to them each time the browser is launched.  Effectively, TPLs will prevent listed online ad networks from collecting information about the user's online behavior.

Microsoft's approach is slightly different from the FTC's proposal, which would transmit consumers' privacy preferences through the browser to websites that would then be responsible for adhering to those preferences. 

Ms. Worlton would like to acknowledge the assistance of Ari Meltzer in preparing this article.