Windows 8 users get 'Do Not Track' options

Microsoft will allow users to change the default setting for the “Do Not Track” privacy feature in IE 10 when they first run on Windows 8.

In May, Microsoft announced that DNT would be switched on by default for IE10. Now the company’s chief privacy officer has said that customers can modify the setting if they want.

This setting of choices after installation but before software runs is called a “first-run” option and it appears that Microsoft is accepting the EU’s idea that DNT needs to be on first run rather than “by default”.

Writing in his bog, Brendon Lynch, Microsoft’s chief privacy officer, said that DNT will be enabled in the ‘Express Settings’ portion of the Windows 8 set-up. Customers will also be given a ‘Customize’ option, allowing them to easily switch DNT off if they’d like.

The Express option will accept the defaults Microsoft has set, including DNT, and is assumed if the user does nothing but proceed with the setup.

When the user uses the Express settings they will see what Lynch called a “prominent notice” that tells them IE10 will have DNT switched on.

The move has the backing of Jonathan Mayer who is one of two Stanford students who devised the HTTP header concept used by browsers to signal a user’s DNT decision.

The move is likely to satisfy European regulators who have urged Microsoft to set DNT as the default in IE10. Commissioners have said a first run option, like the one Microsoft has adopted, would be appropriate and acceptable to EU officials.

Of course online advertisers will be furious that browsers turn on DNT without asking users.

Lynch suggested that there will be no first-run option when Windows 7 customers upgrade to the new browser.