Microsoft will debut anti-tracking technology as part of Internet Explorer 9, which will use “Tracking Protection Lists” (TPL) to better allow surfers control over which sites can see where they’ve been browsing previously. According to the company’s IE blog, the system will be similar to a “do not call” register for phones, with users creating lists of trusted or untrusted sites in their TPLs that set out which sites can access cookies, images, HTML and other code.
“We designed this feature so that consumers have a clear, straight forward, opt-in mechanism to enable a higher degree of control over sharing their browsing information AND websites can provide easy to use lists to manage their privacy as well as experience full-featured sites.” IEBlog
Sites will be able to create their own TPLs with details on external URLs that are necessary for full functionality, and users will be able to optionally accept or deny those TPLs. Microsoft is positioning it as an opt-in system, partly in response to a recent report by the FTC which criticized industry self-regulation on privacy and suggested that it had “failed to provide adequate and meaningful protection.”
IE9 is due for release early in 2011, and Microsoft has given examples of the sort of coding required to put together TPLs so that websites can get up to speed in advance. Whether users will be willing to take a more active role in their privacy online remains to be seen, however.