In light of the recent rash of “history sniffing” bugs and the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed “do not track” list, Microsoft today announced that release candidate of Internet Explorer 9 will feature a new tracking protection setting that will keep a user’s browsing habits private from sites looking to harvest browser histories.
The new feature of IE9 will let users opt out of sharing their browser information with sites they may not know or necessarily trust. It includes a Tracking Protection List of Web addresses that the browser will call only if the user specifically types the URL into the browser bar. That means any content from a URL that the user has blocked will also not show up in the browser.
This blacklist starts out empty, and the user has to populate it with addresses he doesn’t want to share information with. Conversely, users will also be able to assemble whitelists of sites that are trusted and free to access browser data.
“We designed this functionality as a good start to enable consumer choice and protection from potential tracking,” Dean Hachamovitch Corporate Vice President of Internet Explorer said today. “We provide a tool in the browser, and consumers choose how to use it. As with everything on the web, we expect it to evolve over time especially as the broader privacy dialog continues. We’re communicating about it now as part of our transparency in the software development process.”