Unlike Apple, Microsoft quashed efforts to boost users’ online privacy in Internet Explorer

“The online habits of most people who use the world’s dominant Web browser are an open book to advertisers,” Nick Wingfield reports for The Wall Street Journal. “That wasn’t the plan at first.”

“In early 2008, Microsoft Corp.’s product planners for the Internet Explorer 8.0 browser intended to give users a simple, effective way to avoid being tracked online,” Wingfield reports. “They wanted to design the software to automatically thwart common tracking tools, unless a user deliberately switched to settings affording less privacy.”

“That triggered heated debate inside Microsoft,” Wingfield reports. “As the leading maker of Web browsers, the gateway software to the Internet, Microsoft must balance conflicting interests: helping people surf the Web with its browser to keep their mouse clicks private, and helping advertisers who want to see those clicks.”

“In the end, the product planners lost a key part of the debate,” Wingfield reports. “The winners: executives who argued that giving automatic privacy to consumers would make it tougher for Microsoft to profit from selling online ads. Microsoft built its browser so that users must deliberately turn on privacy settings every time they start up the software.”

Wingfield reports, “All the latest Web browsers, including Internet Explorer, let consumers turn on a feature that prevents third-party browser cookies from being installed on their computers. But those settings aren’t always easy to find. Only one major browser, Apple’s Safari, is preset to block all third-party cookies, in the interest of user privacy.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

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