Internet Explorer 10’s Do Not Track setting will be ignored by world’s largest web server

September 14, 2012

The next version of Internet Explorer, IE 10, is designed by default to prevent your online activity from being tracked by would-be advertisers. But that may not stop advertisers from tracking you anyway.

That’s because the world’s largest web server, Apache (with an estimated 59.4 percent market share), is preparing its systems to ignore the so-called DNT (Do Not Track) privacy setting in this latest version of Microsoft’s benchmark web browser. Internet Explorer 10 is slated to be released with the new Microsoft operating system, Windows 8, in October.

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One of the co-founders of the Apache project says that he object to the DNT setting in Microsoft’s IE 10 not because it exists, but because it is enabled by default. They claim that such machine-generated security settings do not indicate a user’s true preferences and should therefore be ignored.

Microsoft, of course, disagrees with that notion, and says that while the DNT setting is enabled by default, users are given the option to turn it off during the Windows 8 Express Settings setup. But because Apache plans to ignore the DNT setting on IE 10 altogether, users who knowingly selected the DNT setting will still be impacted.

Microsoft’s DNT tracking setting is related to the DNT standard that is being developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C, for short), the closest thing the Internet has to a governing body, to help give Internet users more control over what information they share online.

While many Internet users increasingly demand online privacy, supporters of tracking systems say that the upside to having online activity recorded is to create more personalized web experiences for users.

As for other web browsers, Google Chrome does not support DNT (though there is a Google extension users can download that does), while Mozilla’s Firefox defaults to no user choice.