Internet Explorer 9's Privacy Features Gain W3C Acceptance

Besides the radical new interface, one of the bigger features of Internet Explorer 9 is its “do not track” feature. At the name suggests, it lets you decide, either manually or by subscribing to a pre-compiled list, which sites you exclude from tracking your Web browsing. So if you visit a site that employs a third-party ad service that tracks your every move—why is that necessary?—you can enable the anti-tracking feature. Try to track me now, jerks! The point is, it’s a handy feature, and it’s one that’s poised to gain greater acceptance.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) says that it has approved Microsoft’s set of privacy features for broader adoption. What, exactly, did Microsoft submit?

The filter list contains parts of third-party URIs that a browser may access automatically when referenced within a web page that a user deliberately visits. Rules in a filter list may change the way the user agent handles third-party content. By limiting the calls to these websites and blocking resources from other web pages, the filter list limits the information other sites can collect about a user.

The Do Not Track user preference is a setting maintained by the user agent. It can be read by a webserver or client JavaScript. A webserver that respects theDo Not Track user preference will read this value and will not track the user when this setting is enabled.

The W3C will host a fun and exciting workshop on April 28 and 29 where employees will be on hand to further detail the new privacy details.