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Using Internet Explorer 8 : Security and Privacy Options (part 4)

3/13/2011 4:38:04 PM

7. Using InPrivate Filtering to Restrict Information Flow to Advertisers

When you visit a website containing advertising, typically the ads are supplied by a party other than the website's owner. Data concerning your visit to the site is commonly transmitted to the third party, and if that party displays its ads on multiple sites that you visit, this process of information collection can help the advertiser generate more precisely targeted ads. Recognizing that you might not be entirely comfortable with this process, Internet Explorer 8 provides InPrivate Filtering, a tool that lets you block information flow to all or selected third parties.

Inside Out: Turn Inprivate Filtering on persistently

InPrivate Filtering is turned off at the start of each Internet Explorer session, regardless of whether it was on or off when you closed the browser. If you want to use it consistently, turn it on each time you start (the keyboard shortcut is Ctrl+Shift+F). Alternatively, to keep the feature on at all times, open Registry Editor, navigate to HKCU\ Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Safety\PrivacIE, add the DWORD value StartMode (if it doesn't already exist), and set its value to 1. Internet Explorer will then retain and apply whatever decisions you made in the InPrivate Filtering Settings dialog box.

To configure InPrivate Filtering, choose Safety, InPrivate Filtering Settings. In the dialog box that appears (see Figure 3), select either Automatically Block or Choose Content To Block Or Allow. If you make the first choice, the filter blocks the flow of information to all third parties. If you make the second, you get to specify how each party listed in the dialog box is handled.

Figure 3. In the InPrivate Filtering Settings dialog box, you can block the flow of information to all or selected advertisers.

The InPrivate Filtering Settings dialog box lists all parties that have tracked your information on some minimum number of different websites. The default threshold is 10, but you can reduce that to as low as three. Sites are sorted initially in order of increasing activity, so to see who's been the busiest, you'll need to scroll to the bottom of the list or reverse the sort order. To allow or block a particular site, select it and click the appropriate button. To visit a third party's own website, select it and click More Information From This Content Provider.

8. Clearing Personal Information

Internet Explorer keeps a copy of websites, images, and media you've viewed in your browser recently. It also maintains a list of websites you've visited, whether you arrived at the page by clicking a link or typing an address. This cached information—combined with cookies, saved form data, and saved passwords—can give another person who has access to your computer more information than you might want him to have.

To wipe away most of your online trail, click the Delete Browsing History option at the top of the Tools menu (on the menu bar, not the Command bar; press Alt+T to get there if the menu bar is not displayed). This dialog box, shown in Figure 4, allows you to clear some or all categories of information. The Preserve Favorites Website Data check box, a new option in Internet Explorer 8, allows you to preserve information related to your own Favorites sites while deleting other elements of your browsing history. This option is selected by default.

Figure 4. The options in the Delete Browsing History dialog box let you specify which elements of your history you want to erase.

9. Browsing Privately

You can clear your personal information at any time (see the preceding section), but if you want to cover your tracks only for particular websites, a simpler solution is to visit those sites in private browsing sessions. You can open a private session by choosing Safety, InPrivate Browsing; by pressing Ctrl+Shift+P; or by choosing Open An InPrivate Browsing Window on the New Tab page. Internet Explorer opens a new window when you do this, without modifying your current session; thus, you can keep private and nonprivate sessions open at the same time. As Figure 5 shows, changes to the address bar and application title bar make it easy to tell if a session is private.

Figure 5. Internet Explorer changes the address bar and title bar to let you know that a browsing session is private.

While you browse privately, neither your browsing history nor any data that you enter in web forms is recorded. Be aware, though, that browsing privately is not browsing anonymously. Sites you visit can record your IP address. (Third-party anonymous browsing tools are available.)

Here are other points to note about InPrivate Browsing:

  • During a private session, session cookies are retained in memory but deleted at close.

  • During a private session, temporary internet files are stored on disk; they're deleted when you close the session.

  • InPrivate Browsing disables toolbars and extensions by default; if you want them enabled, choose Tools, Toolbars, and then clear the Disable Toolbars And Extensions When InPrivate Browsing Starts check box.

Other -----------------
- Using Internet Explorer 8 : Security and Privacy Options (part 3) - Using Scripts Wisely & Managing Cookies
- Using Internet Explorer 8 : Security and Privacy Options (part 1) - Working with Protected Mode & Using and Customizing Internet Security Zones
- Personalizing Internet Explorer (part 2) - Managing Toolbars, Managing and Troubleshooting Add-ons & Using (or Refusing) AutoComplete
- Personalizing Internet Explorer (part 1) - Adding, Removing, and Managing Search Providers & Configuring Accelerators
- Using Internet Explorer 8 : Working with RSS Feeds and Web Slices
- Working with Virtual Hard Disks
- Managing Existing Disks and Volumes (part 4) - Checking the Properties and Status of Disks and Volumes
- Managing Existing Disks and Volumes (part 3) - Mapping a Volume to an NTFS Folder
- Managing Existing Disks and Volumes (part 2) - Converting a FAT32 Disk to NTFS
- Managing Existing Disks and Volumes (part 1) - Extending a Volume & Shrinking a Volume
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