Internet Explorer 9 adding Tracking Protection to stop websites spying on you

Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 will feature a new security feature that lets you block advertisers from tracking you.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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Microsoft is tackling websites that spy on your browsing. Internet Explorer 9 will feature a new security feature that lets you bar advertisers from tracking you.

That means you'll be able to tick a box to say no to being tracked. You can also create a Tracking Protection List to opt in to tracking by selected sites while blocking others. Lists will also be published on an open platform if you can't be bothered creating your own. Once you've subscribed to a list, it'll be updated automatically.

Internet Explorer 9 arrived in September. In an engineering post on the IEBlog, Microsoft revealed the new security feature will be built into the browser next year.

Tracking protection only blocks third-party tracking: that is, tracking by a domain different to the website you're actually visiting. Third party tracking sees adverts install a cookie on your computer -- even if you haven't clicked the ad. Then, when you go to a different site that the advertiser also advertises on, the advertiser knows you've visited both sites and target ads accordingly.

The US Federal Trade Commission and the EU want to give you more control over online tracking, with a "do not track" law expected in the States next year.

The new tracking barrier is a more subtle version of private browsing, known as InPrivate Browsing in Internet Explorer, Incognito mode in Chrome, Private Browsing in Firefox and Safari, and Porn Mode to you and to me. When private browsing is activated, browsers don't log your history, cache items, or create cookies. It's a sledgehammer approach that's also not totally secure, with browsers and extensions occasionally leaking your details.

How do you feel about tracking? Are targeted adverts handy and relevant, or another erosion of our rapidly dwindling privacy? Track your way to the comments.