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Today's colossally stupid move by Microsoft: IE 10 turns on Do Not Track by default.

http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_on_the_issues/archive/2012/05/31/advancing-consumer-trust-and-privacy-internet-explorer-in-windows-8.aspx

I happen to think DNT is somewhat silly, but if it's going to exist, I'd like it to be meaningful.  This removes all chance of that.  The advertisers that have so far announced pending support for DNT have generally made that support conditional on DNT representing an explicit user choice -- if it's simply a browser default, many have said they will not honor it (and indeed that is what I'm sure they'll do, as if the ad industry were to actually honor this setting coming from 30% of users, it would gut the entire personalization effort that's been a key industry focus the last few years).  In other words, Microsoft have just turned DNT into another P3P -- a worthless and meaningless "standard" that fails to deliver on its intentions.

By contrast, Mozilla, who really want this standard to succeed and have been doing everything in their power to push it, are staying far away from this position.

Microsoft is not so stupid that it would actually do this thinking it was truly advancing the cause of user privacy.  I can only imagine that, much like their propositions to default InPrivate browsing/filtering/etc. to "on" in past versions of IE, their position is driven by some kind of belief that they will hurt more heavily-advertising dependent rival companies (take a guess) more than themselves.  But even accomplishing that here is now going to depend on convincing the FTC etc. to mandate DNT support even for default-on cases like IE 10.
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8 comments
 
I guess this is the best thing they could have done other than blocking Google AdWords ads by default in Internet Explorer. 
 
I can't parse that from a serious or a sarcastic perspective.
 
timing of this measure is indeed unfortunate seeing the efforts to get an agreement on DNT. If they had waited to have a fully defined DNT that states precisely what the header will and will not do, and would give advertisers a more reassuring view of what they are going to be losing by turning on/off defaults, this could have had a great impact.

I still believe that if properly defined, a DNT default of on could have been a great benefit for the internet and ultimately for users
 
I might be in the minority here, but I like being tracked.  I click on adds so infrequently that I appreciate the higher chance of actually being shown something I'm interested in.
 
I'm not surprised if some people at microsoft feel that this will hurt google but who cares what their reasoning is, the end-user benefits if this is on and the idea that any browser, especially one that is open-source, should behave how an advertiser would like it to is beyond ridiculous.
 
Even if you assume that DNT is a good thing for users if advertisers respect it (which I don't), the point of my post was that users still don't benefit here, because Microsoft has killed any chance that advertisers will respect it (at least for IE users).
 
 +Peter Kasting  What makes you think advertisers would respect DNT in the first place?  Advertisers couldn't give a dam about web users rights.  It's all about money!
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