Microsoft promises to save users from tracking, Java malware, Ballmer videos

Do-not-track tool due for IE9, Zozzle anti-malware not yet scheduled

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Playing against type (again) Microsoft has announced plans to give its browser the ability to stop certain sites from tracking end users, giving users some control over the sites with which they share and the data sites can collect.

Microsoft is so uncredible a guardian of customers' security and privacy that I'd normally 'uh-huh' and go on to something else. Its timing is great -- immediately after the FTC announced plans to create a "do not track" list designed to let normal people choose whether or not they'd like to be tracked, and by whom.

Unfortunately, the FTC tool will be a long time in coming, even if it overcomes opposition by Republicans in Congress.

And, even after the list or a tool that supports all major browsers is up and running, government budget and development schedules will keep it far enough behind the cutting edge to be useless for anyone but technology laggards and public PCs at the library that can only run last year's malware.

It will also probably not equal this privacy policy proposal.

Microsoft's tracking protection would be built into IE9 and be based on its existing InPrivate Filtering, a function in IE8 that will block some sites but has to be turned on every time the browser is.

The IE9 version would be on or off all the time, at the user's choice, and would remember preferences about particular sites between sessions.

My immediate thought was that Microsoft was doing its de-facto-standards thing (more appropriately in Microsoft's case expressed as Embrace, Extend, Extinguish).

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