The Microsoft company has officially announced that it will not enable the “Do Not Track” (aka DNT) header by default any longer in its new, next-generation internet web browser called Spartan, This decision is a big reversal for the tech industry conglomerate, and it weathered some substantial criticism from a number of industry groups after it made the decision to enable DNT by default in Internet Explorer 10 and in Windows 8.
Microsoft has blamed this change directly on the Worldwide Web Consortium. This latest version of DNT standard says that the signal that is sent has to reflect the preference of the user, and not the choice of a vendor, a site, an institution, or any network-imposed mechanism that is outside of that user’s control. This equally applies to the general preference as well as the exceptions. The basic principle is a tracking preference expression is transmitted only when it is reflecting a choice deliberately made by the user.
The issue with this is that there’s an overwhelming user majority in each and every context that never even change the default web browser setting. This is the idealistic reason why Microsoft had enabled DNT by default, and that’s also why putting the standard back into neutral will also mean that the majority of individuals will most likely never even use it.
The bigger issue currently at hand is that the DNT standard has literally been “watered down” to a point that is almost entirely useless. Most of the larger companies completely ignore the header and the whole point of DNT was that it was supposed to be a voluntary buy-in, and/or a collaboration between advertising companies and privacy advocates facilitated through the Worldwide Web Consortium (aka W3C) itself. Some of these debated proposals could have very sharply limited small advertising firms’ and/or businesses’ abilities to track user information, all while carving out huge exceptions for Facebook and Google simultaneously.