Microsoft Edge to Feature Improved Tracking Protection

Posted on December 3, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Edge with 6 Comments

Today, Microsoft outlined the ways in which it is improving its Edge browser’s use of tracking prevention technologies.

“We are looking to strike a balance between blocking more types of trackers and maintaining compatibility on the web,” the Microsoft Edge team explained today. “We learned through experimentation that it is possible to manage these tradeoffs by relaxing tracking prevention for organizations with which a user has established a relationship.”

Microsoft Edge’s tracking protection functionality is largely powered by the Disconnect tracking protection lists, but the firm has expanded into blocking new categories of trackers and it now blocks 25 percent more trackers than in the previous version. But the bigger change involves using on-device logic to determine the user’s engagement with any given site.

“By exempting sites and organizations that you have an ongoing and established relationship with from tracking prevention, we can ensure that the web services and applications you care about continue to work as you expect across the web,” the team says. “Leveraging site engagement also allows us to only unblock content that is likely to be important to you and reflects your current needs.”

Microsoft is also making changes to how InPrivate windows and tabs work. Now, instead of always working in Strict mode, your tracking prevention settings will be carried over to InPrivate sessions as well.

Microsoft provides an interesting comparison of tracking protection in Edge 79 (the latest version) and Edge 78. But what I’d really like to see, of course, is how this compares to other browsers, like Brave, Firefox, and Safari. Perhaps we’ll see a third-party rating of this functionality soon.

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (6)

6 responses to “Microsoft Edge to Feature Improved Tracking Protection”

  1. willc

    "relaxing tracking prevention for organizations with which a user has established a relationship”

    So, in other words, invasive trackers from Microsoft (and their paying customers) will be allowed.

    Some "protection" that is.

    • ecumenical

      In reply to willc:

      Congrats on jumping to the wrong conclusion. Feel free to read the actual article from MS about how this works. One key point I'll copy paste for you though:

      "It’s worth mentioning that this compatibility mitigation only applies to Balanced mode; Strict mode will continue to block the largest set of trackers without any mitigations."

  2. ghostrider

    It amuses me slightly that the MS Edge team are all buoyant again, talking up new features. I'd also add this is actually Edge v2 rather than Edge v79, but 79 is much higher, so it makes the browser seem more advanced. Sure, it's built off Chromium, but who knows what MS are changing under the hood. This is for a browser that's officially still in BETA of course, and has a market share of nought - if you exclude Edge v1 which has <2% share.

    • warren

      In reply to ghostrider:

      You make it sound like they haven't been talking about new features. They have been!

      Microsoft announced a completely new "Enterprise New Tab" feature a couple of weeks ago, which looks like a promising improvement for businesses that are integrated with Office 365.

      A few weeks before that they showed off the new UI controls.

      Back in August they introduced the Collections feature.

      This new tracking protection system is just another addition to a fairly long list of new features/capabilities that the next version of Edge will be getting.

      • anderb

        In reply to warren:

        "You make it sound like they haven't been talking about new features. They have been!"

        They certainly love talking about new features. Pity they can't/won't deliver the features users are actually asking for:

        Count how many items on that list have been sitting there unaddressed for 15 weeks.

  3. wright_is

    As long as the user has control over these relationships (i.e. if Edge thinks the user has a relationship with, the user should be able to disable that relationship), this sounds like a move in the right direction.

Leave a Reply