Internet Explorer 9 to include privacy opt-in feature

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The forthcoming Internet Explorer (IE) 9 will contain a new “opt-in” control that will prevent users from being unknowingly tracked by websites, Microsoft revealed Wednesday.

“Today, consumers share information with more websites than the ones they see in the address bar in their browser,” Dean Hachamovitch, corporate vice president of IE, wrote in a blog post. “This is inherent in the design of the web and simply how the web works, and it has potentially unintended consequences. As consumers visit one site, many other sites receive information about their activities.”

The newest version of Microsoft's popular web browser, released in beta in September, will contain “tracking protection lists,” which will let customers control what information third-party websites can collect about them, Hachamovitch said.

Customers will be able to create a list of websites that the browser will “call” only if they visit them directly or click on a link that directly takes them there. Users or organizations will be able to share lists.

“You can look at this as a translation of the ‘Do Not Call' list from the telephone to the browser and web,” Hachamovitch wrote.

The announcement comes on the heels of a Federal Trade Commission report that urged companies to develop a “do not track” mechanism so consumers can choose whether to allow the collection of data regarding online searching and browsing activities.

The official release of IE 9 is slated for early next year.

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