When you visit a website you actually share information with more websites than the one you see in the address bar. Read on to find out how to stop websites from tracking your browsing habits using Internet Explorer 9.

An Introduction To How You Are Being Tracked

Most websites use adverts as a form of income, and there is nothing wrong with this. The problem comes when the adverts on someone’s websites start tracking our browsing habits. You might be wondering how this works, well when you go to a website that has to request anything (an image, a cookie, HTML, a script that can execute) you have can be tracked. Most of the time this is done with something called a third-party cookie, in this method the company that provides the adverts dynamically store a cookie in your browser. When your browser sends an HTTP Get request to the web server hosting the adverts, the webserver will respond with a HTTP Response packet, the packet will have a Set-Cookie attribute attached to it that will tell the browser to store the cookie. Now when you go to any site that gets adverts from that ad company they can track your browsing. They can use this footprint to better target adverts at you.

What Can I Do About It

In other browsers this functionality is normally offered by an extension or third party plugin such as AdBlock. Microsoft included this feature into Internet Explorer 9. By default it is disabled though. To enable it you have to go to the settings menu-safety-tracking protection.

By default the only list that you will have is called Your Personalized  List and by default it is disabled. Internet Explorer monitors your browsing behavior and populates this list with common scripts.


If you double click on the list you will be able to see which content providers are listed. You can choose to either block everything on the list or you can select the second radio button which allows you to specify what to block and what to allow.



Once you are done you can click on to go back to the manage add-on screen where you can enable the list. The problem with this method is that you have to visit the website before its content provider can be “blacklisted”. Microsoft also provides a way for third parties to create predefined lists that people can download. They have some of the lists on the Internet Explorer 9 Test Drive website.



To add a Tracking Protection List simply click on one of the links on the right hand side. You will be presented with a confirmation dialog as seen below.



Once you have selected add list the TPL will be added to your TPL List as well enabled. To check this you can go back to you TPL management console.

Profile Photo for Taylor Gibb Taylor Gibb
Taylor Gibb is a professional software developer with nearly a decade of experience. He served as Microsoft Regional Director in South Africa for two years and has received multiple Microsoft MVP (Most Valued Professional) awards. He currently works in R&D at Derivco International.
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