Microsoft says the IE9 browser due for release early in 2011 will include tools to enable users to control what...
data is collected about their activities online.
IE9 will offer a new opt-in tracking protection mechanism to identify and block many forms of undesired tracking, and tracking protection lists will enable users to control what third-party site content can track them when they are online.
"We believe that the combination of consumer opt-in, an open platform for publishing of tracking protection lists (TPLs), and the underlying technology mechanism for tracking protection offer new options and a good balance between empowering consumers and online industry needs," said Dean Hachamovitch, corporate vice-president for Internet Explorer at Microsoft in a blog post.
The announcement comes days after the US Federal Trade Commission published a report on consumer privacy online.
Microsoft has been engaged in dialogue with the FTC, the Article 29 Working Party in the EU, and others in the privacy arena for some time, Hachamovitch said.
"By applying principles described in the FTC report like 'transparency and privacy by design', we can make it easier for consumers to opt out of potential tracking experiences," he wrote.
The TPLs will contain web addresses that the browser will visit or "call" only if the user visits them directly by clicking on a link or typing their address.
By limiting the calls to these websites and resources from other web pages, the TPL limits the information these other sites can collect.
Anyone or any organisation can create a TPL and the browser will automatically check for updates to lists to enable protection across all browsing sessions.
In addition to preventing information requests to some web addresses, TPLs can include entries that permit calls to specific addresses.
Microsoft plans to release the formatting and standards for the lists under an open licence, so that other browser makers can adopt them.