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Microsoft Users Now Have to Opt Out of Having Third Parties Track Their Data

Don’t get too comfy.

Photo by Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

This post originally appeared on Business Insider.

Microsoft on Friday updated its approach to “Do Not Track” for all future versions of its Web browsers, saying it “will no longer enable it as the default state.”

“Do Not Track” is all about protecting your online privacy. It’s a simple mechanism on most Web browsers that lets you opt out of tracking from third parties, including websites you don’t visit. 

As the standards around “Do Not Track” keep evolving, so do the public policies. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) just offered up a new draft that sheds light on the new standard (Microsoft bolded the final line for added emphasis):


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.


Microsoft says it wants to “eliminate any misunderstanding about whether our chosen implementation will comply with the W3C standard,” so “Do Not Track will not be the default state in Windows Express Settings moving forward.”

Still, Microsoft says it “will provide customers with clear information on how to turn this feature on in the browser settings should they wish to do so.” The changes will apply for anyone buying a new Windows PC, or if they’re upgrading from a previous version of Windows or Internet Explorer. 

You can read the full update on Microsoft’s approach to “Do Not Track” over at the company’s blog.

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