The Do Not Track header seemed like a good idea when it was first proposed by Mozilla. It's still a good idea, the problem is taking this idea and implementing it. While most browsers support the feature, that doesn't mean anything if advertisers don't do the same.
So far, the two sides seemed to get along, but Microsoft, willingly or not, has managed to derail the process with its decision to enable Do Not Track by default in IE10, whether people want it or not.
This decision has been criticized by everyone involved in the process
, but Microsoft has been unrelenting.
So the Digital Advertising Alliance, the industry body which governs the self-regulation of the online ad business, said it would not require its members to respect DNT, if it set by the browser makers and not the users.
"The DAA does not require companies to honor DNT signals fixed by the browser manufacturers and set by them in browsers," it said in a statement.
"Specifically, it is not a DAA Principle or in any way a requirement under the DAA Program to honor a DNT signal that is automatically set in IE10 or any other browser," it added.
"The trade associations that lead the DAA do not believe that Microsoft’s IE10 browser settings are an appropriate standard for providing consumer choice. Machine-driven do not track does not represent user choice; it represents browser-manufacturer choice," it went on to explain.
Microsoft, in its wisdom, has decided to not follow the standard specifications
and make DNT the default, despite criticism from both other browser makers and advertising companies.
It's an easy point to score with users, especially if they don't realize that Microsoft isn't really protecting their privacy if advertisers ignore the setting.
Coincidentally, Microsoft is said to be looking to get out of the ad network business altogether. Also coincidentally Google, its biggest competitor as far as Microsoft is concerned, makes most of its money from ads.
Microsoft fan Ed Bott, in one of his usual tirades, is now attacking the proposed standard itself arguing that the discussion has gone into "crazy territory." Funnily enough, he makes no mention whatsoever of Microsoft's involvement in the whole deal or the decision by the DAA to not respect IE10's settings.