Microsoft’s Tracking Protection Program

We’ve heard about the recent attempts by the US Congress to pass legislation regarding downloads. It seems that the legislation is on hold after an outcry that surprised most Congressional leaders. One of the larger issues involved is privacy because, users expect a certain amount of privacy while they surf the net. And going to websites for download purposes would expose that user. In a larger sense, privacy also involves data protection and application protection. In that vein, Microsoft has recently been involved with this issue.

Data Privacy Day

On January 28, Data Privacy Day will be celebrated. This is an international holiday with the purpose to raise awareness and promote privacy education. The National Cyber Security Alliance is coordinating and promoting the event within the United States and Canada. Given some of the recent events, involving Anonymous and potential Congressional legislation it is good to harken back and look at the environment. At the event Microsoft speakers will be addressing Microsoft’s Tracking Protection software.

Tracking Protection

Tracking Protection lets you filter out content in a page that may have an impact on your privacy. As you know, many webpages include content from other (third-party) websites. This program helps you identify different types of content.

How it Works

When content is loaded from a third-party site, standard information, including your IP address and the address of the webpage you’re viewing is sent to each of the third-parties that have content in the page you’re viewing. If the website you’re visiting has a business relationship with the third party, then more information about you may be sent. Then over time, these third parties can build a profile of your browsing history by using “cookies” and other techniques.

But now, you can filter out content from any website by using Tracking Protection Lists. So, you can have “Do Not Call” lists for content. When you add a Tracking Protection List, Internet Explorer will prevent your information from being sent by limiting data requests to websites in the list.

Tracking Protection and Do not track

Tracking protection is not the same as do not track. They are complimentary. The most important difference is that the Do Not Track protocol is an honor system. When a consumer attaches a “do not track” imperative, they hope that sites will honor their request to contain tracking. But this is an ongoing issue. Because what sites must do to in order to honor that request is still under discussion. Also, it is not clear who is to monitor and enforces that, and how. There is a sort of honor’s pledge that sites make, but it is not enforceable. Consequently for some people that that’s not enough. That being the case, if an honor system can’t resolve the issue, then perhaps put the focus on the consumer to derail any information from being perpetrated. That said, that is why Microsoft is advancing Tracking Protection. Microsoft’s trusted data tracking protection only works with IE9.

 

The Tracking Protection Working Group Charter

Tracking Protection is now a standard under development at the W3C and the momentum over the last year has been encouraging. Indeed, according to Microsoft, when they released IE9, there were only five tracking protection lists available. However, several months later, there are over twenty lists worldwide from six different groups.

One group, EasyList is an open community effort to help filter unwanted content. It is available as a Tracking Protection List. They have had over 250,000 subscriptions to their list.

Another list comes from TRUSTe who is one of four preferred providers of TPLs used for the new IE9 Tracking Protection feature. Their Data Collection is a new program for ad and data companies that collect consumer data on other company websites or use data collected to show more relevant ads. This program certifies the notice, choice, and privacy practices around data collection and usage.

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One Response to Microsoft’s Tracking Protection Program

  1. Guest January 25, 2012 at 12:12 am #

    Microsoft seems to want to appeal to Customers Fear yet I just read an interesting piece that told that they can kill and/or delete applications and/or data from YOUR phone at will…Remotely and without your knowledge.

    Explain that one too me.

    Apple has it along with Android and it said that Apple once killed a program that bypasses the Tether feature because it would cause the service provider to lose money when you want to tether your laptop to your phone.

    The BIGGER picture being that people would use their data plan instead of a home service because over air speeds are getting faster than your overpriced and capped home service.

    I always also wondered when you purchase an Unlimited plan from Verizon to them Unlimited means 5 gigs.

    You see people, it’s about the money and NOT the service.

    The article also went on to say that Google is the only service yet to actually enact the remote kill switch feature.

    Also seeing what they did to MegaUpload and now File Sonic do you STILL think this Cloud Computing crap is a good idea?

    Those 2 file sharing services have NOTHING to do with what their customers upload to their servers and the Government has no access to PRIVATE servers because its trespassing and in most cases out of the United States.

    If you look back a few years when PGP came out the US Government went after the creator when it was used outside of the US and they wanted Back Door Keys to be implemented so they can always look at the data.  Cloud Computing is the same thing and do you REALLY believe that your data is going to be secure from prying eye’s?

    Do you honestly think that in this day and age when they make old people strip at an airport and look at their colostomy bags that they aren’t going to track you by phone or look into your online data?

    Seriously are you THAT nieve?

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