Tracking Protection Inside Internet Explorer 9

Chris HolmokAmid the ongoing debate over Do Not Track and concerns over online data gathering, Microsoft has introduced a tracking-protection feature in its latest version of Internet Explorer.
Users of IE9 will now be able to choose which third party sites can collect their data and track them online. Web browsers have been providing some kind of tracking protection in the form of add-ons or plug-ins for years, but this version of Internet Explorer is the first browser to actually have a tracking-protection element built right in.

Dubbed “Tracking Protection Lists” by Microsoft, users can select lists to add to their system folder that will supposedly protect them from selected third party sites. It’s similar to the “do not call lists,” Microsoft explains. The lists work by blocking content from the selected third-party sites.

The lists work like this:

Anyone can create a list that includes a number of domain names that will be blocked if the list is added by a user. Once a user has added the list, the formatted file is added to the system folder which then formats Internet Explorer to begin using the rules from that list.

Once the list of domains is added, Internet Explorer will check it before sending HTTP requests to third-party sites. If the site is included on the list, content from that site will be blocked.

However, if a person visits the site directly by clicking on a link or by typing a web address, the content will not be blocked.

As you can probably imagine, there is a lot talk going on about privacy and how tools like IE9’s tracking protection will affect online advertising. Ed Bott at ZDnet mentioned that if IE9 is widely adopted and tracking protection (from third parties) is used by a large audience, it could “seriously disrupt the online advertising business.”

Stay tuned to the Lunch Pail for our response to this debate.

How do you think IE9’s latest tool will affect the industry? Have you used it? What do you think?

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