European Commission has New Ally in 'Cookie wars'
Cookies have become a hot topic in Europe following the adoption by European countries of the EU E-Privacy directive. May 26th saw the UK finally fall into line with European requirements for websites to offer visitors the opportunity of opting out of allowing cookies to be used by that website. Cookies are small snippets of code which are extensively used to manage shopping carts, track anonymous user data around websites, remember users and passwords and generally make life much easier for busy web browsers.
The opposite argument espoused by EU bureaucrats is that they can be used for invasion of a person's privacy whilst browsing the web. To this end the directive requires that cookies, other than those "strictly necessary for the delivery of a service requested by the user" are not to be placed without user consent.
Naturally this has caused a massive backlash by website owners who claim that it will kill their businesses if they insist on making every visitor agree to download essential cookies before being able to continue shopping.
Now, coming in from left center is Microsoft, long a corporation that the EU have vilified for anti-competitive practices, claiming that their soon to be released browser IE10 will be set by default to Do Not Track (DNT). On May 31st, the same day that it released Windows 8 Release Preview, Microsoft’s chief privacy officer said that IE10 would have DNT on by defaul because the company “believes in people first”!.
The Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) has however opposed Mircosoft’s move. In a draft of the standard published shortly after Microsoft's announcement, the W3C group working on DNT said users must express their preference, and that a browser maker could not do it for them.Continued on the next page