Microsoft Arming IE8's Privacy Power to the Teeth

Dennis Faas's picture

Like covering your tracks online? Then you'll be happy to hear that Microsoft has recently announced a host of new privacy tools for Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) capable of better protecting users' privacy during and after their surfing.

It's a major step for Microsoft, which has in the past been criticized for failing to improve IE's privacy settings. With a dominant market share over primary competitor Firefox (from Mozilla), it seemed the impetus for change simply wasn't there.

Now that Firefox presents a greater challenge to Microsoft's browser dominance than ever before, the Redmond-based company appears willing to make adjustments. Not even Mozilla has introduced measures like this, with a representative admitting it too was working hard to add similar features to Firefox in the future.

Microsoft's tools, collectively branded under the "InPrivate" name, provide a wide range of services. "InPrivate Browsing", when enabled, prevents the storage of any browsing or search data, terminates cookies, and refuses to save passwords. In addition, it will automatically clear the browser cache once the user completes their session.

Other tools include "InPrivate Blocking", which makes users aware of third-party content that may track history and "InPrivate Subscription", which forms a list of sites one should block. Even more convenient may be a "Delete Browsing History" option that allows users to keep only those cookies associated with their bookmarked pages. (Source:

Is it sneaky business, or just good business? IE Program Manager Andy Zeigler believes it's a useful tool for just about anyone. "If you are using a shared PC, a borrowed laptop from a friend, or a public PC, sometimes you don't want other people to know where you've been," he recently argued.

That may be the case, but given the nature of these new tools it's quite understandable that the media has dubbed the updates, "InPrivate Browsing" in particular, as "porn mode". (Source:

The new modes will be released as part of IE8 Beta 2, which company chairman Bill Gates promised sometime this month.

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