Monday, September 17, 2012

Microsoft creates controversy by announcing Internet Explorer 10 will come with "do not track" preset


Microsoft has created quite a stir with its plans to release Internet Explorer 10, in conjunction (at first) with Windows 8, with the “do not track” option preset as a default, not requiring users to make a conscious decision to opt out.

Natasha Singer discusses this matter in her “Bright Ideas” column in the New York Times in the Sunday Business section (Sept. 16), p. 4, “When the privacy button is already pressed”, link here

It’s obvious that other browsers, like Chrome, Safari, and particularly Firefox, could feel similarly pressed.  Google Chrome says it will support voluntary “DNT” by the end of the year (PC world, here).

But Apache has warned Microsoft that its plan violated industry server settings standard, and Apache says it will override the setting, story by Jeff  Blagdo for “The Verge”  here

Some people fear that the development (of preset “do not track” options to stop data gathering of users) could unravel the entire business model upon which free Internet content lives.  There are others who say that the behavioral tracking is really not that critical for ad revenue.  Personally, I am concerned, because I can tell that most of what gets served to me depends on my own browsing habits, and I can understand the financial motives for big corporate sites (especially those trying not to use "paywalls") and eventually for service providers and even webhosting companies.  Even though bloggers like me don’t depend on the income from advertising and find it incidental, service providers eventually might not have the incentive to continue offering low-cost, essentially unregulated platforms.  So those of us who don’t care a lot about revenue are perhaps freeloading on the backs of companies (and people) that do – it’s like the childless freeloading on families with children!

I’ve been getting pressure from people (especially with respect to my “old” books) to become more aggressive at “selling” when I’m still more interested in developing new content and solving new problems.  


No comments: