Microsoft defends IE8 'phones home' feature - clarifies privacy policy

Microsoft defended the Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) tool that suggests sites based on the URLs typed into its address bar, saying that the browser “phones home” only a limited amount of information to Microsoft and that the company discards all user IP addresses almost immediately. Company managers also contrasted IE8 Beta 2's “Suggested Sites” feature with […]

Microsoft defended the Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) tool that suggests sites based on the URLs typed into its address bar, saying that the browser “phones home” only a limited amount of information to Microsoft and that the company discards all user IP addresses almost immediately.

Company managers also contrasted IE8 Beta 2's “Suggested Sites” feature with the “Suggest” feature used by rival Google Inc. in its Chrome browser, saying that Microsoft's browser requires the user's explicit permission before it's used. They did, however, acknowledge a bug that prevents the request from reappearing when users reinstalled the browser.

“We capture as little uniquely identifiable information as possible,” said Cyra Richardson, a Microsoft principal program manager on the IE team. “We capture the URL that the user is visiting, the version of the browser and general locale information.”

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