The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has sent a letter to Microsoft asking the company to remove its default "Do Not Track" setting from Internet Explorer (IE) 10.
The harshly worded letter co-signed by the likes of Wal-Mart and Intel executives says a default Do Not Track setting would hurt consumer's web experience.
ANA's consortium of companies is asking Microsoft to drop the features default status and instead make it optional for IE 10 users.
"We believe that if Microsoft moves forward with this default setting, it will undercut the effectiveness of our members' advertising and, as a result, drastically damage the online experience by reducing the Internet content and offerings that such advertising supports," the ANA said in its letter.
"This result will harm consumers, hurt competition, and undermine American innovation and leadership in the Internet economy."
Do Not Track prevents sites from implementing tracking features. The tool alerts sites that the user does not want their data collected so the site can disable the code that tracks users.
IE is the only browser to set Do Not Track to default. The feature is available on both Chrome and Firefox browsers but must be turned on by the user before becoming active.
Privacy advocates have worried that the need to setup Do Not Track on those browsers could mean a lack of consumer awareness for the feature.
The ANA says that forcing users to turn off Do Not Track prohibits consumer choice. Its the groups belief that by making the feature a defaulted option Microsoft is showing that it wants to end legal online data collection.
"When presented as a default 'on,' by design Microsoft is no longer creating a choice of whether or not data about consumers will be tracked. Rather, Microsoft appears determined to stop the collection of web viewing data. That is unacceptable," continued ANA in its letter.
"The result of such a large percentage of data collection being blocked seriously undermines consumers' interests by potentially diminishing the robust content and services available over the Internet."
For its part, Microsoft has said they will continue to support IE 10's default Do Not Track setting. The company says it's important for users to control their data and reiterated a commitment to user privacy.
"Our approach to DNT in Internet Explorer 10 is part of our commitment to privacy by design and putting people first. We believe consumers should have a consistent experience and more control over how data about their online behavior is tracked, shared and used," said a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to V3.
Microsoft also said in its statement that it would continue to work with advertisers to find an agreement for how best to use Do Not Track.
"We also believe that targeted advertising can be beneficial to both consumers and businesses. As such, we will continue to work towards an industry-wide definition of tracking protection," continued the spokesperson.
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