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Doug's Mailbag: To Track or Not To Track

Readers share their thoughts on Microsoft's "Do Not Track" function in Internet Explorer:

DNT ought to be the default. (Additionally, vendor offerings for things not requested should be OPT-IN not OPT-OUT.)

Unfortunately, advertisers are favored in Washington because profits come before consumer privacy.

As usual, the federal government doesn't understand technology and its impact. It beats up on firms like Microsoft for trying to do the right thing.

Fact of the matter is that Washington bureaucrats rarely, if ever, has a clue about new technology and what it means to the average consumer. The batting average only gets worse for them being able to decide what might possibly be best for the average consumer.

While I don't always agree with what Microsoft decides is best for their consumer, usually you can change the setting if you have some technical savvy and Microsoft know-how. As most anyone who reads this already knows, Microsoft usually takes a buttoned-down, conservative approach on security (not politically, of course, just a tight security setting) which is best for keeping the average non-tech-savvy consumer out of trouble. The decision for the DNT default that MS wants to implement is just another case-in-point.

The Washington bureaucrats rattling Microsoft's cage on the DNT default setting make decisions based on politics. IMO they are likely just siding against big-business without an inkling of an idea of what the DNT setting even is or who is doing the tracking. Either that or they want to keep the option open for the government to do the tracking.

Regardless, they certainly aren't on the side of the consumer. They are only on whichever 'side' will help them politically.

Share your thoughts with the editors of this newsletter! Write to [email protected]. Letters printed in this newsletter may be edited for length and clarity, and will be credited by first name only (we do NOT print last names or e-mail addresses).

Posted by Doug Barney on 06/27/2012 at 1:19 PM


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