IE boss calls for more honesty about privacy

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IE boss calls for more honesty about privacy

Firms profiting from consumers' lack of awareness.

Organisations need to stop profiting from the ignorance of their consumers, and be more clear and honest about the choices that need to be made to protect online privacy, according to Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) chief.

Amy Barzdukas, Microsoft's general manager of IE and consumer security, made the comments ahead of her keynote speech at the RSA Conference show in London tomorrow.

Barzdukas argued that many consumers do not necessarily understand what they give up in terms of privacy when they install a toolbar on their PC, for example.

"As an industry we need to hold to a higher bar and not ask people to make tradeoffs they don't understand," she added. "In some cases, the industry is taking advantage of people's lack of awareness to further their business goals."

Barzdukas went on to explain how the latest version of IE deliberately features a separate address bar and search box with "different underlying privacy models", whereas competitors may be forcing customers to make a privacy tradeoff by conflating the two, she said.

Unsurprisingly, Barzdukas was in a bullish mood when asked whether she thought IE had now caught up in security terms with its rivals in the browser market.

"I believe it compares extremely favourably. The most difficult competition is our own past versions of Internet Explorer," she said.

"It's really important to make people aware that, if they're using IE6, they shouldn't be, and that they need to be on the newest version in order to take advantage of the innovations and improvements we've made."

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