back to article Advertisers slam Microsoft over 'Do not track' decision

Microsoft's decision to enable the "Do not track" feature by default in Internet Explorer 10 should please privacy advocates, but it has sparked condemnation from the online advertising industry. Microsoft made the announcement on IE10 with the release of the (probably) final beta for Windows 8 on Thursday, and Brendon Lynch, …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    See those guys? Those guys over there with the phone OS that's way more popular than we can ever make one?

    Yeah, we're better than them, we are. Never mind the tracking that we won't tell you about, never mind disguising WGA as a security update, never mind holding entire industries hostage, never mind the other bastardry we get up to, looksee, we enabled DoNotTrack!

    A nice thing to do, just a shame about the reasons. They'll revert back to being just as awful as Google, Facebook and Apple just as soon as the whole "privacy" thing blows over. It's like watching politicians at work, really.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's a start..... Can we do the same for all advertising, especially the text ads, phone calls, spam emails.....

      Will the 'do not track' have any impact? Only if they follow the rules which they generally don't.

    2. leexgx

      Re: Translation:

      all that will happen with adverts when IE10 is detected it will ignore the DO Not Track flag on that Browser due to MS screwing the advertisers up

      if other browsers are detected and the Flag is set to Do Not Track will work normally (as the User Opted to not be tracked not the Hole company MS made them choose for them)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I guess...

    Microsoft was faced with the decision:

    - Anger the advertisers (a few of us)

    - Anger the rest of the world's Internet-using population (the rest of us)

    Don't know about others around here, but I think I'd sooner anger the former (smaller) group than anger the latter (larger) group. Good on them for standing up to principles on this issue. Now if we can just sort out a few other issues that have been bothering us about Redmond...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      It's nothing to do with principles. Anything that hurts the paid-by-advertising model makes Microsoft happy.

    2. Joe Montana

      Re: I guess...

      Most of the internet-using population don't understand or care about such issues...

      The few that do will simply enable do-not-track if the option exists.

      If this is the default, then you will see more advertisers simply ignoring it, therefore screwing the privacy conscious and maintaining the status quo for everyone else.

      Advertisers don't really care about the handful of privacy conscious people who most likely would have already been taking other steps anyway. These people were never going to buy any of the products they advertised, and serving ads to them just wastes bandwidth.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I guess...

        So you're saying that advertisers are scum, their "self-regulatory" system is a sham, and that their approach to privacy is to give people the option to be unmonitored, provided that almost no-one enables this setting? Further, your solution to this problem is to let them do what they want to the masses because this will stop them invading the privacy of a few people.

        It sounds to me that what we actually need is laws on the statute books to prevent these people invading other people's privacy when they feel like it to support their business model, since it appears that we can't trust them to self-regulate?

        Finally, what's the problem with adding another screen to the list of settings that we have to wade through whenever a new version of a browser is installed and let the people themselves decide if they want to disable Do Not Track? Giving people a choice (with sensible defaults pre-selected) seems like a reasonable compromise to me.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I guess...

          Who are you going to get to pass those laws? The same politicians who are already bought by the suits?

    3. Spanners Silver badge

      Re: I guess...

      A nice idea Stewart but the advertising executives move around in the same, suit wearing, ivory tower complex as the MS executives. They went to the same colleges and send their kids to the same schools. They know that anything they can be spun to whatever meaning they want..

      Despite our feeling that this is a good thing, most people will either not care, or forget it following the next "real news" about some celebrity getting more photographic exposure than she had planned or a conveniently released foiling of a supposed terrorist activity.

      This may more likely mean that "do not track" will be getting some deliberate holes or just becoming completely infective.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I guess...

        BUT do Google advertise?

  3. Simon
    Thumb Down

    What is the betting an update turns it off, by accident of course. Once they have had their good publicity and it has been shipping in the new OS.

    This is a ploy not a major win for privacy.

    1. h4rm0ny

      You have no evidence of that. This is a good thing. And it's a smart thing. MS make their money by selling software. They have a sideline in advertising via Bing, but it's barely a toe in the water just for the sake of not letting themselves be fenced in or at the mercy of other companies. Whereas for Google it's almost their entire business model. So by doing this they simultaneously do three things: They please their customers (more of us care about our privacy than you might think and privacy is in the news often enough). They draw a clear line between themselves and other companies - pay up front with us, or pay via your personal details with others. And they hamstring their competitors in an ethical and perfectly legal way by siding with their customers' interests rather than Google and others that sell the online behaviour information.

      All good solid reasons to do this and yet to see the reactions of some here, you'd think MS had done a bad thing. Oh yes, of course they have - they've done something that is good for the customers and can't easily be criticized for. That actually is a bad thing I suppose if you're someone who always seeks ways to condemn MS in everything they do.

  4. Esskay
    Thumb Up

    Could it be?

    Microsoft making a decision that *helps* their users?

    I've no doubt that their motives are more related to stopping the slide away from IE at a consumer level, and that customer "choices" or "privacy" rates very low on their agenda - but I have to admit that they're making a fairly bold move by pissing off the people who help monetise the platform.

    As for the Advertising Alliance - Fuck off. Trying to pass off ads that know who I am, where I am and what I'm doing as a method of "improving my experience" doesn't wash - it simply makes me wonder how much (or how little) payment your members would accept to sell that data off to a third party...

    1. Franklin

      Re: Could it be?

      "Microsoft making a decision that *helps* their users?"

      Microsoft making a decision that hurts A Certain Other Company That Competes With Them And Makes Bazillions Of Dollars From Online Advertising, more likely.

      Color me cynical, but when ANY large company makes a decision, I say, follow the money. In this case, hurting That Other Company's revenue stream is clearly in the interests of Microsoft; the interests of their users are, I rather suspect, quite secondary.

      1. multipharious

        Re: Could it be?

        @Franklin, and this is a bad thing in this case?

        Microsoft has been publicly polarizing itself towards privacy in response to Google's blatant disregard for it. Simple competitive positioning. Look at the Microsoft videos that slam Google with the "Gmail Man" videos. I recently saw a picture of a billboard advertising Office 365 that touted the fact that they don't index your mail. I mean IMHO this is just a basic customer expectation from a GRC standpoint, yet because a major vendor unscrupulously does, Microsoft turns it into a competitive advantage.

        I would say I support Microsoft's unsurprising decision to support and attempt to protect its own end user paid licensing customer base from unrestricted and unfettered access from advertisers. If they want to pick up the privacy advocacy cause then I am not opposed.

      2. Rob Moir

        Re: Could it be?

        Franklin - of course you're right, but I see no reason why that makes their decision a bad thing for their customers. Something about gift horses and mouths.

  5. Jeebus

    Whilst only the dimmest and deluded can't see through the MS veneer it is still good to see anyone pissing off advertisers, no matter who.

    I also enjoy the smugness of the posters above in their unsafe, watched states decrying everything else like shoving fingers in their ears makes everything fine, they're even worse than the people who think this is anything but PR.

  6. John Savard

    Software Company

    Microsoft is a software company, and it certainly is reasonable for it to design its products in such a way so as to best serve its customers.

    This is why laws (or at least clauses in patent licenses) are needed to prevent DVD players and TV sets from unscrambling the encryption on content in order to allow it to be recorded freely, for that matter.

    But I don't think that advertisers will get what they want through a law.

    1. Joe Montana

      Re: Software Company

      Microsoft doesn't care about best serving its customers, it is solely concerned with best serving its own ruthless goals... Occasionally these two aims line up, but often not.

      Laws to prevent DVD/TV sets from descrambling and recording content on the other hand are stupid. All that does, is get in the way of legitimate users who want to exercise fair use, for example.

      Recording a show to watch later, possibly on another (eg mobile) device (i regularly watch tv shows i recorded the night before on my laptop, tablet or phone while commuting to work on the train).

      Backing up your DVDs so you don't damage the original (especially useful if you have kids who like to damage media - when i was a kid, my mother made copies of tapes and kept the originals incase i destroyed the copies).

      What it doesn't stop is organised piracy, they will rapidly work out how to crack any encryption scheme, and considering they are already breaking the law by distributing the work in the first place, additionally breaking a law against descrambling content doesn't bother them in the slightest.

      In fact, such scrambling schemes often increase piracy because the pirate copies come with less limitations and are therefore superior products.

      And while such schemes might initially decrease "casual piracy", that is things like kids sharing copies with their friends, all it really does is encourage them to obtain proper pirate copies as their source material so that they *can* share with friends again.

      1. Rob Moir

        Re: Software Company

        "Microsoft doesn't care about best serving its customers, it is solely concerned with best serving its own ruthless goals... Occasionally these two aims line up, but often not."

        This applies to any corporation, not just Microsoft, not just Apple, not just Google, etc. While it is wise to remember that these corporations are not our special friends, at the same time that is no reason not to take advantage of the times when their aims and ours *do* line up.

  7. Bob Vistakin

    Why worry about microsoft? They're about to commit suicide.

    Or have you missed all the Metro shite they're about to shove in everyones face?

    1. Crazy Operations Guy

      Re: Why worry about microsoft? They're about to commit suicide.

      What is with everyone thinking that Metro is going to kill Windows? Well, really its only a few people, every normal user, and quite a few admins, I've talked to like the Metro interface, especially the Hell Desk drones.

      The users get a simple interface that doesn't confuse and the Phone Jockeys have an easier time working with users calling up since now its "Click the big green square, rather than OK, Go to the start menu, no the other button, ugh, I'll be down in 5 minutes...".

      As for the Admins, they just use PowerShell all day and periodically hit the Windows Key to bring up the Metro interface to check their messages and tickets since they show up as numbers on the tiles.

  8. Eguro

    Advertisers = Lawful Good

    "The DAA told the Wall Street Journal that the industry representatives and government had agreed that the advertising world would regulate itself "

    Yeah - businesses regulating themselves - that always works out well!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Advertisers = Lawful Good

      If I were being kind, I'd say most businesses and most governments are either Lawful/Neutral or True/Neutral with lawful they will always follow the law and they will tend to work in the interest of the greater good while placing their own needs slightly higher than others, in the case of True/Neutral they will break laws where required or work to their own principles instead of the law to achieve the same (tending towards the "greater good" while looking out for number one.)

      If I were to be less kind, I'd say most are either Lawful Evil, or Neutral Evil, Lawful Evil tending to look for ways to manipulate holes in the law (loop holes / the word vs the spirit) while looking to maximise benefit for themselves, damn everyone else. Neutral Evil will break laws where it seems fit to do so.

      As we all know the most dangerous enemy is the Lawful Evil enemy for a long term campaign as they're the ones who'll set plans in motion that may take a great many game years to come to fruit.

      1. Steven Roper

        Use of "Lawful" in this context - a clarification

        "Lawful" in this context (its Dungeons & Dragons meaning, that is) doesn't necessarily mean "acting in accordance with the law". A "Lawful" entity - as opposed to a "Chaotic" one - is simply an entity that follows a set of principles or code of honour, not necessarily the same ones as the laws of the land.

        For example, a Thief steals from people, thus breaking the law, but obeys the rules and principles of the Guild of Thieves, thereby being a Lawful character even while being a criminal. This is why you can have "Lawful-Good" and "Lawful-Evil".

        By contrast, a Chaotic character acts impulsively, without recourse to a guiding code or set of principles, whereby you might have the bumbling, clumsy-but-means-well cleric (Chaotic-Good) or the rampaging, destroying demon (Chaotic Evil).

  9. Anonymous Coward

    MS has a tendency to do "good stuff" these days

    I'm not surprised with this move and although I'll admit to have some bias (a LOT (seriously) is being eaten away with the monstrosity called Win8) I do think we need to give MS credit here.

    A few weeks back a friend of mine using an iPhone came over. I have a Windows Phone. We both claim to have an interest in privacy concerns and as such I was wondering if his iPhone really did only do stuff opt-out. Which it did. Some options were even so deeply burried that he never managed to find them.

    In strict contrast; my Windows Phone doesn't collect nor send back /any/ data unless I want it to. By default most data collection options are defaulted to "off" even though MS would probably benefit if I'd turn them on. Others are important enough to raise the question to me but in general; MS leaves the choice to the user.

    And I think that does them some credit.

    Don't get me wrong here.... I can also see where it comes from. Lets be honest here; MS needs all the credit they can get. Only one hour in the Win8 release preview and its driving me completely NUTS.

    So I have an mp3 on the network (so easy to get to that, NOT). I double click it and as can be expected a metro app appears playing my music. Ok...

    So now I want to turn down the volume... Where the FUCK is the volume control? THERE IS NONE!

    Sure, if you manage to charm the pos you'll get to the settings and from there can eventually turn down the overall volume. But that's not the point!

    I have a Metro music player without so much as a volume control. How on earth can anyone call this user friendly?

    SO I start a lot of apps. Eventually Music disappears from my list. So now I have music playing without any means to stop, pause or skip it. Apart from going to the start screen again, re-starting music from there and only then....

    I'm getting a headache here.

    1. h4rm0ny

      RE: Music

      I can't find a volume control on the App either. It does have "preview" written across it, but anyway... I was able to change the volume in two ways. On my laptop, it has a volume slider at the top (imagine it's the same if the keyboard has volume buttons). Sliding this up and down immediately displayed the volume on screen and changed the volume of the MP3. The other way I found was to slide the mouse to the right and click on Settings on the Charm menu and there is a volume control right in front of me. More or less just like how I go to the bottom left to click on the volume control in Windows 7. It seems that the App just uses whatever the general volume setting is rather than having its own. I suppose that is simpler.

      Anyway, my first reaction to Metro was absolute horror. My second reaction, where I really tried, was also horror. Then I tried with the latest preview and suddenly I found it wasn't too bad. Don't know if you will have a similar change or heart or not. All I know was that I was getting as frustrated as you were last week and now I'm not. I want Word? I hit the Windows key, press 'w' and then 'enter' to select it. I'm immediately back in the desktop and it's about the same speed or quicker as using the Start menu. The full screen Apps I just flip back to the Desktop and it makes no difference (MP3 keeps playing) though I can see how it could. E.g. if you like to have the name of what's playing or where you are in a track on the desktop. But keep in mind that's just the MP3 player that came with it (and a beta at that). You can still stick VLC or whatever you want on it as you could with Windows 7.

  10. Tom 35


    These advertisers with there flash cookies, zombie cookies, and every thing else they do to track people who clearly don't want to be tracked are going to stop because of a do not track setting?

    At best they will change the name (no we are not tracking you... we are following you, totally different).

    1. John70

      Re: Right

      "At best they will change the name (no we are not tracking you... we are following you, totally different)."

      Both methods can be summed up in one word: Stalking.

  11. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    Brea in mind, this *is* just a release preview

    I'm inclined to think that by release time, Microsoft will have IE10 do a first-use configuration like IE8 and IE9 do.

    Paris, one less irritating than the other.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Brea in mind, this *is* just a release preview

      Brea indeed. It's a tar-pit ... once you get stuck, you're stuck.

  12. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Do Not Track...

    Wait, is this the one that doesn't work?

  13. Rick Damiani
    Thumb Down

    Do not track is not the law

    As the article itself pointed out, advertisers agreed to honor 'do not track' as long as it was not the default setting in browsers. If Microsoft makes it the default, they have broken that agreement. I can't imagine that advertisers will feel any compulsion to hold up their end of the bargain if Microsoft doesn't.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Do not track is not the law

      Do not track is not the law

      You forgot to say where it is the law. In the EU the law is that people must opt-in to being tracked. Microsoft is only being sensible by helping users and webmasters as, EU law tends to be adopted in other countries, see the browsers selection screen.

      * Onto the meaty parts: self-regulation of advertisers. Yeah, that works well. Might as well let the banks regulate themselves...

      * Do not track is conceptually flawed as it does not actually enforce the setting. Until there are actual cases and judgements advertisers and stalkers will be free to do as they please.

      * The whole tracking discussion is a red herring to distract people from the real identity trade. Users logged into the favourite service (eg. Facebook, Google, Windows Live, Twitter) then these services have the user's informed consent to track them across the interwebs. Google already has doubleclick, expect the competition to buy of create their own advertising arms to take advantage of this situation. Though, to be honest the value of such highly targeted advertising is questionable. More money is going to be made on the detailed personal profiles that the identity traders will be able to offer: this guy not only visits El Reg but also, regularly exceeds the speed limit, etc.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Do not track is not the law

      Microsoft has always violated the RFCs. Remember IE6? sure Microsoft could make it the default and the advertisers are free to track IE users all they want, but what if MS includes ghostery code just to make sure that no tracking whatsoever is taking place?

  14. Naughtyhorse

    sparked condemnation from the online advertising industry.


    fuck em

    and the horse they rode in on.

    so M$ that restores the karma for windows ME

    now about vista.......

    1. CmdrX3

      Re: sparked condemnation from the online advertising industry.

      The 1990's called, they want their M$ definition for Microsoft back.

  15. jake Silver badge


    What is this thing you call "advertising"?

  16. heyrick Silver badge

    "a conscious choice to share information in order to receive more personalized ad content

    Dear advertisers: It was your concious choice to (ab)use available technology to not only track users, but to devise measures that would render regular cookie management ineffective. You didn't ask me if I agree to tracking. You didn't say who you are, where you are, what data is held, why, and what you plan to do with it. You didn't give me an opt-out until it became legally difficult not to. Now you're bitching because the default option of one of the mainstream browsers is to insist upon you not tracking, though I would imagine you'll try to find a way to ignore this anyway... Then the adverts got bigger. Animated. And with sound. Who decided that it would be a great idea to piss away bandwidth on a video for something I would never want on a page that isn't even related to the topic of the advert? Oh, you want to track me for more applicable advertising? How about this - STFUAD.

  17. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Dear advertiser

    Why should I pay your bandwidth costs to deliver messages to me that I don't want to see?

  18. tkioz
    Thumb Up

    Good on Microsoft... seriously online advertisement can go to hell. They dug their own graves, anyone else remember the days of popups by the dozens? popunders? etc. before Adblock/etc came around?

    Yeah I remember it, so screw advertisers, they were the ones that started the war with their ever intrusive bullshit, they can live with the hate.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Errm did you not understand the article.

      Because Microsoft defaulted to on, they broke the agreement, and now advertisers simply will just ignore the DNT header.

      How is that "Good on Microsoft"?

      You might was well not have it in any browser now. Thanks Microsoft you stupid fuckers.

      1. tkioz

        Re: Errm did you not understand the article.

        And that's a good thing, they ignore the header and people will start getting even more pissed off, and eventually the law makers will realise that hey they might be getting "contributions" from ad makers, but the annoyed people actually matter more...

        No half measures, no compromises, advertisers need to realise that they've angered people to such a point where they are the ones that need to be bowing and scraping, not anyone else.

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: You might was well not have it in any browser now.

        That was always the case. Any scheme that isn't wholly enforceable by the browser regardless of the wishes or level of co-operation from the advertisers, is not worth having. In fact, since it probably reduces the pressure to come up with a *real* solution, it is actively harmful.

      3. h4rm0ny

        Re: Errm did you not understand the article.

        "Because Microsoft defaulted to on, they broke the agreement, and now advertisers simply will just ignore the DNT header."

        So basically, it's better to have rights on the understanding that we don't use them, than to try to use those rights and risk losing them. How about we agree that Judith has the *right* to have a baby, even though she can't actually have one?

        It's good to have this done. It's an expression that we do not wish to be tracked. If that is ignored, then maybe we can get some real laws in place on the subject. Seems to me that if we can't use our Do Not Track option, then it's not worth much. And I don't like a solution that lets everyone else be tracked just so advertisers aren't provoked into challenging my privacy. It's both selfish and it normalizes intrusion which long-term makes it harder for anyone to object to it including us.

        1. Vic

          Re: Errm did you not understand the article.

          > How about we agree that Judith has the *right* to have a baby, even though

          > she can't actually have one?

          Judith can. It's Loretta that can't...


      4. Blitterbug

        Re: Errm did you not understand the article.

        I call 'Shill'

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seriously, see no problem with this

    I just want to be sure that the feature will be obeyed by all. This, I have very high doubts about. Eg, what about your browser or your OS? Surely they MUST keep track of your settings, and of a host of other things, just to work properly, right? What will happen when companies inevitably disagree on what is fair game to track or not?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DNT - now rendered useless

    "industry representatives and government had agreed that the advertising world would regulate itself and honor "Do not track", so long as browser manufacturers didn't make it a default setting"

    So now it's on by default in IE10, the rules have been broken, and websites are free to totally ignore the DNT header and just track regardless.

    Thanks Microsoft you fucked it up not just for IE users, but Firefox, Opera, Chrome and Safari users.

    1. RonWheeler

      Re: DNT - now rendered useless

      Not a MS problem, unless you hate them so much you decide they are evil whether they enable it or not. They problem is voluntary agreements, a bit like media / press professional standards agreements, are so with riddled with loopholes as to be meaningless.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: DNT - now rendered useless

        There was an agreement. It was voluntary. We don't know if the advertisers abided by it or not

        We know now that they will most certainly not abide by it, rendering DNT obsolete across all browsers and platforms.

        I fail to see how you think is is not an MS problem.

    2. Blitterbug

      Re: DNT - now rendered useless

      I call 'Another Shill'. Odd how many people really, really hate this, isn't it?

  21. Old Handle
    Thumb Down

    I hope this won't come off as mindless MS bashing, but I'm not sure this is a really good idea. I'm worried that advertisers will see this as a reason to simply ignore the Do Not Track header. They will argue that because it's on by default, some people who do want their "service" may overlook it and unwittingly be excluded. For whatever tiny fraction of the population that is, this is no doubt true. And since IE is bundled with computers, Microsoft is in an especially poor position to argue the point. If it was say Opera, they could easily say that since the feature was publicized, by choosing that browser, people had already made their intentions clear.

    Of course out-in tracking would be the ideal, but I'm just not sure trying to force the issue this way is a good move strategically, at least at this stage. And I have to admit it makes me suspect MS is doing this more to look like they care than because they think it's the best way to protect people's privacy.

    1. Blitterbug

      @Mr Handle

      TBH I really think it's time a stand was taken against the slimy bastards, and no, I didn't take it as MS bashing.

  22. DrXym

    More likely reason

    I think it's to stuff up Google than anything else. I assume Microsoft will still happily gather data through their Windows Live sign on mechanism and apps tied to id. By denying other advertisers that data or the means to gather information about Windows users at all, that information becomes more valuable.

    1. Invidious Aardvark

      Re: More likely reason

      Do you seriously think Google won't do the same data gathering for their logged in users?

  23. Zebo-the-Fat

    Stick your adverts where I can't see 'em!

    I try to block all adverts, any that slip through I ignore, If I want a product I will search for it - I don't want it cluttering up my screens. For the same reason I never watch live TV, I record and skip through the crap.

  24. Whitter
    Thumb Up

    "They'll just ignore it now"

    Advertisers have always used the "implicit consent" model to allow them to body-swerve data protection laws. Once DNT is in place, explicit refusal becomes the norm and the implicit consent loophole vanishes. If the Ad men do just ignore it, then roll on the class law suits.

    1. Charles 9

      Re: "They'll just ignore it now"

      How? The agreement wasn't a legally-binding contract where the advertisers could take MS to court for Breach of Contract. There are only two ways a lawsuit could happen: if the browser makers and ad agencies inked a legally-binding contract (not gonna happen--lawyers are too savvy to rope themselves in like this and very keen on how to slip legal nooses) or if the lawmakers change the consent laws to require informed consent (also never gonna happen--sure people could get mad, but mad enough to create whole-cloth opposition candidates capable of withstanding mudslinging ads from the masters of ad making? No way. Something of that caliber takes a threat to their livelihood, such as laws altering job prospects, to draw up that much attention).

  25. stanimir

    Add an ad-block in IE, show a wizard to setup it on install then it's a nice start.

    Do-not track is just useless compared to a true ad-blocker.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just turn it on. No big deal.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New course for advertisers

    How about, instead of just ignoring the do-not-track, advertisers try to educate the users?

    "We've detected that your browser is currently not allowing us to fully assist you by showing relevant informational content on the pages you visit. Our mission is the continued improvement of your web experience. By choosing to allow us a bit of insight into your life, you can dramatically improve your browsing experience."

    Or some such bulls**t

    But then they'd of course have to try and justify their tracking to the people they're tracking, which would also raise awareness of the fact that it's happening, and people are just so much easier to track, when they're unaware of it.

  28. Benedict

    "We hope that many consumers will make a conscious choice to share information in order to receive more personalized ad content"

    fuck the fuck off.

  29. Stratman

    How long before the adcos are arguing over the meaning of 'tracking'?

  30. g e


    Here. Have my crocodile tears, advertisers.

    1. Gannon (J.) Dick

      Re: BOO HOO

      And I went long on Alligator Tears just before the bell yesterday ... Damn Free-tards, no respect for Capitalism. CitiBank told me London was safe from you heathens.

  31. This Side Up

    Ad content? Not content.

    "We hope that many consumers will make a conscious choice to share information in order to receive more personalized ad content. For us, that is the key distinction,"

    In reality consumers do not want unsolicited ad content to be delivered to them at all. I do need advertising but I need it to be available when I look for it, so when I want something I can find out what's available, where from and how much it costs. Irritating ads that are shoved in my face at other times are likely to be counter-productive, if I take any notice of them at all. Normally i wouldn't notice if ads are targetted or not.

  32. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    As if the ad pushers were ever going to adhere to "do not track" anyway - voluntarily or not.

  33. RonWheeler

    Half these posts are typical stupid kneejerk MS bashing

    This is about do not track, not 'I hate adverts'. You'll still see adverts whether it is enabled or not unless you install an ad blocker. The question is whether they can stalk you round the internet.

    The advertisers made the default behavior loophole, not MS. All MS have done is implement best practice as a default and in doing so shed light on the gaping holes in DNT enforcement.

    1. Charles 9

      Re: Half these posts are typical stupid kneejerk MS bashing

      And the admakers are getting wise to ad blockers. More and more you're seeing ad blocker blockers and critical programs tied to the same servers as the ad makers, essentially tying the content to the ads in such a way as to be nigh-impossible to block (block the ad, block the content). With some sites starved for revenue, it's either this or the login wall.

  34. jaycee331


    Poor scumbag advertisers. That's all.

    Good for Microsoft. Let's hope others follow suit.

  35. Mike Flugennock
    Thumb Up

    Advertisers pissing, moaning, whining

    Ahh, music to my ears.

    Big ups to Microsoft, just this once.

  36. Greg J Preece

    This isn't the only move they've made in this direction recently. I was pleasantly surprised, when I installed the latest Win8 preview in Virtualbox, to find that the list of things Microsoft wanted to dial home for under "Customise Settings" were now all set to "off" by default, where in earlier versions they were all on by default.

  37. Alan Denman

    Intentional to undermine the web yet again!

    Looks to me like there is a concerted effort to get us all onto apps?

    I can't help but think that the open web is a hindrance to profit/advert control.

    Adobe Flash was the first target, this is looks just an extension of that.

  38. Alan Denman


    ...............and obviously some web site make lots of money but for most the profits are tiny and need any help they can get.

    You don't get ought for nowt.

  39. Ian Thomas

    Why should it make the online advertisers nervous? They'll just ignore Do Not Track, at least for IE10 users. This totally defeats the point of the feature.

  40. Chris King

    Like this is going to make a difference anyway...

    If Microsoft left it switched off by default, the advertisers would just turn round and say "only the privacy freaks wanted it, and they don't see our adverts anyway so DNT is pointless". It's a no-win situation either way for the consumer, let alone Microsoft.

    "Self-regulation" just means that the foxes vote to "protect" the hen-house - and we all know how that's going to end.

  41. Rich 2 Silver badge


    "...the advertising world would regulate itself and honor "Do not track", so long as browser manufacturers didn't make it a default setting."

    I think this says all that anyone needs to know about the morals of the advertising industry; "we'll agree to honour "do not track" as long as you don't enable it and most users don't know about it". It's just like all the other "opt out" schemes like the one for junk (non-e) mail. They really are scum of the first order.

  42. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Some people are still confused

    I am surprised at the number of people patting themselves on the back saying that Microsoft is finally catering to its "customers".

    Sorry to rain on your parade, people, but if you and I might just benefit from this <ahem> bold move, for one thing it's not sure, because advertisers will most likely change their mode of operation, and for two, Microsoft does not consider you and me to be its customers.

    Microsofts customers are RIAA/MPAA, the Fortune 1000s and any other big company that gives them millions every year.

    If WE were considered its customers, we wouldn't have had to go through Vista's awful UAC shenanigans, we wouldn't have Windows-based DRM and Windows would ignore DVD regions while asking us if we wanted to allow User Restrictions on the DVDs that we watch on our PCs (you know, those annoying unskippable previews that were already boring when we bought the DVD ten years ago).

    But because it's the big spenders in suits that Microsoft caters to, we are stuck with "functionality" that does not benefit us, but benefits the corporations. THEY are Microsoft's customers, we are just the sheep that Microsoft fleeces in between big contracts.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Some people are still confused

      "Microsoft does not consider you and me to be its customers. Microsofts customers are RIAA/MPAA, the Fortune 1000s and any other big company that gives them millions every year."

      Millions every year? :D Microsoft's revenue for 2011 was 69 billion. Doctor Evil, is that you? Also, when and why did the RIAA/MPAA "give" Microsoft millions every year?

      "If WE were considered its customers, we wouldn't have had to go through Vista's awful UAC shenanigans, we wouldn't have Windows-based DRM and Windows would ignore DVD regions while asking us if we wanted to allow User Restrictions on the DVDs that we watch on our PCs (you know, those annoying unskippable previews that were already boring when we bought the DVD ten years ago)."

      And without the DRM, I would not be able to rent movies online. Or subscribe to a cheap all you can listen to music service. As to DVD regions... same as with the player under your TV: get one that isn't region locked. This may come as a shock to you but Microsoft don't manufacture DVD drives. Region encoding is set in the drives firmware. I know because I can remember flashing that firmware to get rid of region control on my LINUX box.

      "But because it's the big spenders in suits that Microsoft caters to, we are stuck with "functionality" that does not benefit us, but benefits the corporations. THEY are Microsoft's customers, we are just the sheep that Microsoft fleeces in between big contracts."

      Which of course is why some of these big companies are now angry with Microsoft for setting Do Not Track by default rather than allowing them to track the "sheep" like they'd want? In other news, War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength; and we have always been at war with Oceania.

  43. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Where there are a small percent of sites on the web run by enthusiasts who did it for a hobby instead of a business most sites are runs to make money, so if they have no physical products to see then they need to make money somehow hence ads.

    As much as i don't like ads myself i realise they are necessary for sites like the register to exist and still be free to view, the more people go out of the way to block ads from showing the more sites will have to find other ways to make revenue such as going behind a pay wall.

    1. h4rm0ny

      This is true and I agree. But this is not about Ads directly. This is about Do Not Track. I.e. following your online presence from website to website. The Register are still free to display ads when you come here (and I don't block them either, actuallly. The Registrer is one of the few sites I visit where the ads are likely to interest me and get my clicks). However, it prevents an advertiser tracking you from The Register, to New York Times to and back again. So agree with your point, but Do Not Track is not about blocking ads, but monitoring your online behaviour.

  44. Jop

    Probably google related

    This is a two fingers up to Google imo.

    Google is a big competitor for Microsoft and MS are losing the battle of the browsers and search engines.

    So this move will hurt Google advertising revenue.

  45. Mikel

    I can't think of a single entity in all of technology that Window 8 doesn't offend in some way. This is going to be interesting.

  46. Ilsa Loving

    Open Letter to Advertisers

    Go fuck yourselves.



  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The gesture is appreciated

    From a company as large as Microsoft it sends a message that the ad pimps can't always expect to get their own way. However its a sad reflection of the world we live in that it's down to a self interested 'business decision' rather than a democratically driven and legally binding choice, emphasising, as always, that its just about the money.

  48. Zombieman

    Good for them

    DNT on by default? Good!!

    The "tracking" of people across web sites is an EXPLOIT of an unintended side-effect of the technology designed for web sites THAT THE USERS VISIT to "maintain state" between pages... Examples of maintaining state include logging in, remember me systems, shopping carts, site preferences...

    Advertisers can still advertise without tracking, sites hosting adverts won't suddenly not be able to have adverts. Their complaining is like some script kiddie complaining that Microsoft fixed a security flaw that let them take over a remote system, or a WOW cheater complaining that Blizzard shut down an exploit that gave them an unfair advantage.

    It is precisely this sort of thing that has prompted the EU to investigate privacy, and you end up getting these silly laws that mean even "1st party" cookies are now forbidden unless the user explicitly says yes, and if the user says no to a prompt, guess what, you can't remember that choice, so the user is asked again, and again. Web sites are forced to show little banners, like the rather ironically covering up the privacy policy link (oops).

    Bitch and whine all you like advertisers, I'm with Microsoft on this one!

    1. stanimir

      Re: Good for them

      Bitch and whine all you like advertisers

      Who the flock like advertisers?!

      I for one do not believe in unsolicited ads. While spam/unsolicited mail is illegal, unsolicited flash/irritating/popping/walking/brain sucking shizz known as online ads is actually quite ok.

      I do hope the entire biz model of 'freeee' stuff paid by the previously mentioned shizz would go away for good.

  49. TeeCee Gold badge

    " has sparked condemnation from the online advertising industry."

    Gosh, really? My nose bleeds for them.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The online advertising agency...

    ...can go pound salt where the Sun don't shine!

    Most people prefer to not be abused by advertising SPAM. For those who do want to be bombarded daily, there is an opt IN option for those needing abuse.

  51. theloon

    Ohhh MS, you have done it again. FCC investigation please.

    I can only conclude that MS has done this with full knowledge it will kill DNT dead by being in breach of the agreement, which is what the ad industry wants.

    Frankly this deserves investigation by FCC and EU bodies.

    Some people somewhere are having a drink and a good laugh at the rest of us. Bastards.....

    1. Tom 7

      Re: Ohhh MS, you have done it again. FCC investigation please.

      On what basis would there be an FCC investigation? Do you assume that every advertiser in the world has a right to know everything you do and that they have a right to put a tracker in your car and on your credit card and telly and land line and so MS allowing the user to stop this happening may be something dangerous.

      The truth is, for once, MS have done the right thing. Not necessarily for the right reasons but still...

      Much as I hate MS I cant find fault with this move. Businesses have no special rights on the internet - just because it can make life easy for us doesn’t give them any right to fuck with that. I just wish MS had realised this 20 years ago - we would be in a very different internet now.

  52. DaeDaLuS_015

    Microsoft is bad? Maybe. This is bad? No.

    Surely this is only a good thing?

    Even if Microsoft has done this to completely blow apart the DNT setting due to the agreement it would not be set to on by default it doesn't matter. All this does is take apart a system that was, clearly, already broken. I don't see how in any way this is a bad thing. Whether Microsoft are evil is up for debate but this particular action in isolation is only a good thing.

    Even if it does make things worse for now. Destroying a lie isn't much different than exposing a half truth.

  53. Infernoz Bronze badge

    Who cares, Firefox still beats it; Microsoft is an OAP, W8 an OAP fart, IE is a deposit.

    Internet pages became so clogged with Ads that I have NoScript, AdBlock+, Ghostery, RequestPolicy and other extensions installed in Firefox by default, even at work, because I got totally fed up with page load sluggishness (really obvious on Fibre or busy work LANs!), visual clutter overload, and obvious attempts at brainwashing.

    Even worse for advertisers is ad blockers are pretty much compulsory on mobiles because bandwidth use can cost money and time, and ads are often bloated, so filtering them out can save money and time.

    Face it advertisers, if we want stuff, we will look for it, trying to cold sell us stuff when we are not looking for it is the past; this is a buyers market now, we make the rules now; so tough! Haven't advertisers realised that price comparison sites, cash back sites and search/index sites exists because this is a buyers market; basically online Ads are obsolete except for these sites and retailer sites.

    Business better pay attention, because I'll probably have valuable highly liquid savings even after the pound currencies crashes and will only spend some if something is useful to me or amuses me.

  54. Frank Bitterlich
    Big Brother

    Wait a minute...

    ... did I read that right? "the advertising world would regulate itself and honor "Do not track", so long as browser manufacturers didn't make it a default setting"...?

    In other words, when browser makers are starting to enable privacy by default, the ad industry sees that as a license to ignore user privacy preferences completely?

    If you need any more reasons than that to enable DnT and privacy modes globally, you must be working at the Facebook HQ.

  55. sjsmoto


    I'm not worried about advertiser tracking as much I LOVE DIET COKE! as the possibility of their editing your online posts on the fly.

  56. Sean Kennedy

    To track or to not track..

    "It has worked with Microsoft and the government for over three years on proposals to ensure privacy and still allow tracking without "Do not track" being turned on by default, it said, and now Redmond has acted unilaterally."

    Did anyone else need to reread this a couple times before they got what was being said? So they want to track, even though consumers don't want to be tracked. And MS nixed that, instead making it the customer's choice.

    And somehow, they're wrong for that decision. Is it any wonder we hate the advertising industry?

  57. Tom 13

    Advertising and tracking is a double-edged sword.

    The MS move is certainly a game changer. Whether for the better or the worse remains to be seen. No matter how much you hate advertising, it pays the bills for the internet. If it dries up as a source of revenue, and the MS move certainly moves it in that direction, something will need to replace it.

    That being said, in this one instance I think MS correctly picked the moral option.

  58. Piercy

    A lot of people have over looked the fact that online advertising actually helps maintain the internet. Yeah it might be a crappy model and not very well regulated but "do not track" is no where near a solution. Its just hiding the the issue. The money brought in from advertising helps company, charity, hobby and other websites to keep running. Without this inward money what do you think will happen?

    I understand Microsoft might(yeah might..) be trying to do the right thing (for once). I for one dislike being track so i can understand why people would be happy about this. However, they should of considered many of the alternatives that have already been posted in the comments here. The move they have just taken directly harms the internet. Very stupid move Microsoft.

    Lets watch the prices across the internet go up as MS release yet more crap on the world.

    1. Piercy

      and yes i know this post is about do not track and not adverts directly but the money drop involved is all the same.

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