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Microsoft rolls out tracking prevention to Edge beta

Good news for Edge users who value their privacy. Microsoft has followed in the footsteps of Mozilla and Chrome by introducing tools to let you prevent tracking across the web.

Currently available in the beta version of Microsoft Edge, users can enable it by typing the following into the address bar and restarting:

edge://flags#edge-tracking-prevention

As soon as that’s enabled, users will have the choice of three different levels of tracking prevention: “basic”, “balanced” or “strict”. 

“Balanced” is the recommended setting that’s on by default and Microsoft says it “blocks malicious trackers and some third-party trackers”, cautioning that “you’ll see less relevant ads.” 

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The “basic” setting, meanwhile, only blocks “malicious trackers” while waving targeted ads through, while “Strict” blocks “the majority of third-party trackers”, but may break some sites in the process. There’s also the option to turn off tracking prevention for sites you trust.

Microsoft goes into greater detail over how the feature works on its Windows blog, but the main way the feature is enforced is by restricting access to storage “where it may try to persist data about the user” and by blocking resource loads such as scripts, pixels and iframes. “This prevents any data potentially being sent to the tracking domain and may even improve load times and performance of the page as a side effect,” Microsoft writes.

There are a whole host of mitigations in place as Microsoft accepts that “the web is a complex place”, and that’s another reason why you currently have to jump through hoops to enable it. “There may be some bugs or site issues, but we want to get it into your hands to hear what you think.”

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“We’ll use your feedback on this experimental feature in the Canary and Dev channels to understand potential impact to web compatibility and iterate on the experience to be helpful and easy to use,” the post concludes.

Is tracking prevention important to you? Let us know on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.

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