Microsoft has detailed its forthcoming privacy and security plans, which include enhancements to Internet Explorer 7 and the addition of digital rights management software into applications at document level.
Despite earlier plans not to do a browser update until Longhorn's release in 2006, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates confirmed that code for IE 7 will be available this summer in beta and in full by Christmas.
The browser will incorporate enhanced anti-phishing software. "Anti-phishing will definitely be built in to IE 7," said Brendon Lynch, senior privacy strategist at Microsoft.
"We are looking to make it very visible and easy to use to ensure that it's really effective. The technology works in a similar way to anti-spam technologies by picking up keywords and writing styles."
Looking further ahead the Redmond giant plans to introduce more control over rights to information, even within documents.
SQL Server 2005, due for launch in November, will see the encryption of all data, with individual user access based on clearance levels.
Lynch explained that some customers are interested in using the same technology within documents, so that certain paragraphs of text could be hidden from unauthorised users while still allowing them to view the remaining parts of the document.
"Office 12 will see DRM technology integrated," he said. "Then the same principles can be applied to other applications."
Much of the technology to perform these tasks is in existence. Metadata in Word documents already records keystrokes, and logs which computer opened which document.
In addition computer systems using Server 2003 and Office 2003 can be configured to lock down documents from selected users.
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