Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 to let users list sites they do and don't want tracking them
The news of the browser update, which Microsoft said would arrive sometime next year, comes as the Federal Trade Commission is mulling over proposals to limit websites and online advertisers' ability to track how and what people surf on the Web.
The commission is looking to protect online consumers from companies tracing their "digital footprints" online, but some lawmakers worry such laws could hurt the economy of the Internet.
Internet Explorer's new feature, called Tracking Protection, will not automatically block websites from collecting data about how a user surfs the Web. Rather, users will have to create their own lists of specific websites and third-party sites that they'd like to block and not block.
"Some consumers today have been very clear that they have privacy concerns, like being unclear about what information is being shared and how it is used as they browse," said Peter Cullen, Microsoft's chief privacy strategist, in a statement.
"Some sharing is good -- you may want a shopping site to know your history -- but it is hard for anyone to differentiate today. The consumer challenge here is that the technologies involved are very complex and even the definitions -- what exactly constitutes tracking -- are still under development by the industry."
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Image: A screen shot of "Tracking Protection" being used to block a third-party website from following a user of Internet Explorer 9. Credit: Microsoft