Apache Web servers will ignore IE10's 'Do Not Track' settings

By turning DNT on by default, Microsoft is deliberately violating the proposed standard, Apache cofounder says.

By Katherine Noyes, PC World |  Security, do not track, IE10

There's already been a fair bit of controversy over Microsoft's decision to make the Do Not Track (DNT) setting turned on by default in Internet Explorer 10, and recently the brouhaha got even louder.

Specifically, in a move that came to light last week, developers of the widely used Apache Web server application have added a patch to their software that ignores the DNT header altogether when it is sent by Microsoft's forthcoming IE10 browser.

The only reason DNT exists is to express a non-default option, explained the patch's author, Roy Fielding, an Adobe employee who is also cofounder of Apache and a contributor to the DNT specification. It does not protect anyone's privacy unless the recipients believe it was set by a real human being, with a real preference for privacy over personalization.

IE10 Stands Alone

Just as a quick refresher, Do Not Track is a proposed Web standard designed to give users of the Web an easy way to request that websites and online ad networks not track their browsing behavior.

All five of the big browsers, including also Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari, have a DNT option. IE10 is the only one that has it turned on by default, however, though users will have the option of turning it off if they want.

While Microsoft's approach has received support from the European Commission, advertisers, not surprisingly, have been unhappy with it. Many critics also fear that it will encourage website operators to simply ignore the DNT header, since its enablement won't necessarily say anything about the user's true preferences.

'Choose a Better Browser'

Fielding charges that Microsoft is deliberately violating the DNT standard.

The decision to set DNT by default in IE10 has nothing to do with the user's privacy, he wrote. Microsoft knows full well that the false signal will be ignored, and thus prevent their own users from having an effective option for DNT even if their users want one.

You can figure out why they want that, he added. If you have a problem with it, choose a better browser.

'Singles Out One Browser'


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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