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Microsoft responds to IE8 'privacy quashed' report

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Microsoft has responded to a report that claims it curtailed Internet Explorer 8's privacy architecture to benefit advertisers and marketers online.

IE general manager Dean Hachamovitch blogged here about IE8's InPrivate Filtering feature, which helps stop websites from sites collecting information about which sites you visit.

This information can be used for promotions and to serve up ads.

Hachamovitch went on to provide what he called some "context" about online safety and privacy.

"Part of what makes online privacy tricky is that browsing the web is fundamentally an information exchange. Your web browser offers information in order to get information. That information can identify you. Often, that information is sent automatically for your convenience (like the languages you prefer to read) to tailor the content for you," Hachamovitch wrote.

Interestingly, Hachamovitch was one of those named in a Wall Street Journal report here, arguing that IE8 should be given strong automatic privacy settings by default to block web sites' tracking of IE8 consumers. Hachamovitch's blog seems to have been updated for the WSJ piece.

The idea was that strong privacy would be one feature to help differentiate IE from other browsers, and to help Microsoft's browser reverse its declining market share.

However, senior Microsoft executives became involved in a debate that at times became heated, and that pulled in representatives of advertisers from outside the company who argued against strong privacy protection.

The result was that IE requires InPrivate Filtering to be turned on by the user rather than being activated automatically. ®

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