Dealing with Online Public Privacy

How many of us have given up on the online privacy issue? Just when you think you have it under control by using the tools your browser has made available to you, “they pull you right back in!” Some of you may already know that even if you use the preference signal requesting not to  be tracked via your browser choices, web sites can choose not to honor your request.

Recently an article by Natasha Singer of the New York Times discussed the various issues about the privacy of consumers using online services, and what is being done to address this concern.  In her article she advises that Microsoft’s latest version of its Internet Explorer browser coming out in October 2012, which is included with Windows 8, will have a “do not track” option. Below is a summary of that article.  Additionally, you can click the link to the article at the end of this summary to read all the details.

Some topics discussed in the article are:
  What is different about Microsoft’s new “do not track” option?   Answer: The new Internet Explorer 10 comes with the “don’t-track-me” option automatically enabled. Users will have to switch the option off on a customization menu to be tracked. Therefore, with this browser non-tracking is the norm.

This is a radical move for a technology company like Microsoft, which has an ad business of its own.  Here’s why: The prospect of people opting out of tracking presents a risk for marketers. Consumer data fuels the power of the Internet. Ads support “free” content like email services, search engines, as well as social networks.

 If millions of consumers “opt out” of behavior-based advertising many ad-sponsored sites could shut down or put up pay walls for people who choose not to see the ads.

Consumers generally do not change pre-set technology options, which heightens the concern of marketers that this browser could shift millions of people to the do-not-track category.

 The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) an international standards body has created a working group to standardize the technology for do-not-track systems. However,  marketers and privacy advocates are still at odds over the definition of “do not track”.

 In the meanwhile, Twitter users will be interested to know that Twitter has already agreed to honor Mozilla’s do-not-track signal.

What’s certainly true is this discussion will continue to evolve, and as consumers of the Internet, it is a topic that we should continue to watch so that we know how information is being gathered about us.

To read more about this topic click the link below:

I hope this is helpful 🙂