Last year, Microsoft announced that future versions of Internet Explorer would have Do Not Track enabled by default. Earlier today, Microsoft reversed that stance and announced that future Microsoft browsers will disable ‘Do Not Track’ by default.
Do Not Track is a tool that lets users instantly disable all tracking on the internet. It’s like using Incognito Mode on Chrome. Do Not Track was turned on by default in Internet Explorer 10, which was released in 2012.
The decision was bad for internet marketers and website owners, many of whom rely on tracking cookies to earn a living. It was also seen as an act of overbearing unilateralism by the entire advertising community.
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Everything from shopping websites to Google relies on tracking to “improve the online experience” for users.
Microsoft will now alter its implementation of Do Not Track on all future web browsers to “better reflect evolving web standards.” That means the upcoming Project Spartan (the next Microsoft browser release) will not have DNT enabled by default.
Microsoft didn’t actually make this decision out of the goodness of its heart. Instead, it decided to implement these changes after a recent World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) ruling that stated the following:
“Key to that notion of expression is that the signal sent MUST reflect the user’s preference, not the choice of some vendor, institution, site, or network-imposed mechanism outside the user’s control; this applies equally to both the general preference and exceptions. 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.)”
That new ruling was specified in the latest W3 draft.
In any case, this is good news for online advertisers. Most Internet Explorer users won’t care because those who want to protect their privacy can simply enable DNT in the settings menu. Problem solved.

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