Do Not Track Must Be Off, By Default

Last week, Microsoft announced that IE10 would be shipping with the new “Do Not Track” feature turned on, and it was up to the user to turn it off. Now, it looks like advertisers have forced the specification to be changed, so that DNT is off by default:

Microsoft’s surprise announcement last Thursday was interpreted by many as a way to gouge Google, which runs an ad system based on tracking cookies. But it also enraged many online ad companies and industry groups, who saw the move as overly aggressive and a threat to their business model.

As Gruber noted, this feature would only block the ability for users to be tracked, not the ability for ads to be displayed. This leads to many questions:

Advertising networks that track user behavior are OK with “Do Not Track” only so long as a single-digit percentage of users have it turned on? But if a lot of people start using it they’re out? Not being able to track users across the web is a “nightmare” for ad networks?

If your business model only survives because it’s invasive to personal privacy, your business model sucks.