Internet Explorer 8 gets stealth privacy settings

26 Aug 2008

The forthcoming Microsoft web browser Internet Explorer 8 (IE8), which is still in beta mode, has just got a bunch of stealth security tweaks to make web privacy that bit easier. InPrivate is a new browsing mode that lets you choose what is saved and what third parties are saving this.

Microsoft introduced this new feature after feedback from the current IE7 development when it asked if users were interested in ‘clearing their tracks’ but keeping certain web preferences, so that clearing browsing history would not completely wipe out all data.

The Redmond-based company lists some reasonable explanations as to why you would like to surf ‘off-the-record’ or decide what parts of your browsing history that can be completely and easily cleared — ie you don’t want the next person in an internet café to know what sites you have been visiting or maybe you have just bought a gift online for your nearest and dearest and do not want them to find out.

However, some are already dubbing InPrivate the act of going into ‘porn mode’ on your browser because of its convenient ability to let the user pick and choose which sites they want to be secretive about with all traces of having visited being completely erased.

InPrivate Browsing lets you pick whether IE8 saves your browsing history and form data or cookies, whereas InPrivate Blocking alerts you to what third-party sites may be looking to retain your data as you pass through their sites.

Finally, InPrivate Subscriptions lets you rewrite these rules for your favourite websites or alternatively list sites that you want to block completely.

InPrivate Browsing can be launched from one click of a button in a new window; do your browsing, close it down and all your surfing records will disappear.

Mozilla is said to be working on similar features for the next release of its Firefox browser. Meanwhile these new features will be added to the IE8 Beta1 release, which is due out later this month.

Pictured: Screenshot of the new IE8 functionality