Private Browsing and the Enterprise

August 27, 2008 – 11:02 AM

The rumors were right: Internet Explorer 8 will have new privacy features akin to those in Apple Safari. What role should they play in the enterprise?

InPrivate Browsing (“Private Browsing” was already taken by Apple) lets the user control whether or not IE saves potentially privacy-related data, including cookies (all cookies become session cookies), history entries, form data, search entries, passwords, stuff like that. And all temporary files are deleted when the window is closed.

Delete Browsing History is a new dialog box, analogous to Firefox’s Clear Private Data (click Ctrl-Shift-Del for it), puts the manual clearing of potentially privacy-related data into one convenient dialog box. I’ve complained in the past about how this feature works in Firefox 3, and it looks like Microsoft is planning to borrow some of the behavior I complained about. Private items like cookies won’t be deleted if they are in your Favorites and the “Preserve favorite Web site data” box is checked, but at least the configuration of this is both possible and obvious.

InPrivate Blocking let you control how sites monitor you through non-cookie methods. The browser keeps a record of such items and (if you have the InPrivate mode turned on) automatically blocks tracking scripts that have tracked you across more than 10 sites. You can manually control this behavior as well. Related to this, InPrivate Subscriptions are RSS feeds of regular expressions that describe links to block or allow.


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