How Do Online Advertisers Know What You Want? They Mercilessly Track Your Every Move

Careful where you click. Advertisers are watching your every move. Unless you’re using Microsofts’s latest version of its Web browser, Internet Explorer 10. In a move that has angered the digital advertising industry, IE 10 comes with “do not track” as the default preference.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Stu Ingis, general counsel of Digital Advertising Alliance, called Microsoft’s move a “unilateral” decision that “raises a lot of concern.” He said that the industry supports “consumer choice, not a choice made by one browser or technology vendor.”

That sounds good coming off a lawyer’s tongue, but the reality is many people using a Web browser do not fully grasp the meaning of “do not follow,” nor do they spend time customizing their settings.

Microsoft’s Chief Privacy Officer, Brendan Lynch, says the company made the decision because users should “make a conscious choice to share information in order to receive more personalized ad content.” In a word, yes.

Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), co-chair of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus said he hopes “Microsoft and other companies will go further in the future, so that Do Not Track also means “Do Not Collect”, giving consumers the ability to say no to both targeted advertising and collection of their personal data.”



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.