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Microsoft corporate vice president Dean Hachamovitch provided a keynote address at the DLD12 Conference in Munich, Germany, where he discussed online privacy and industry involvement. And while it's unclear if a video or transcript of the speech will be made available, Microsoft has provided a short summary of the talk as well as a related blog post about some new privacy updates.

Microsoft says we can expect a number of privacy-related updates this week in recognition of Data Privacy Day, which is January 28.

"Data protection and privacy are key themes at the Digital Life Design (DLD) conference taking place right now in Munich," Microsoft's Ryan Gavin writes in a post to the Explorer IE blog. "Our own Dean Hachamovitch had the privilege of speaking at this year’s event, where he explored the complexity of online privacy – particularly in light of emerging trends such as the convergence of Web sites and applications – and provided a progress report on the state of online privacy protections."
 
Gavin notes that Microsoft's key technology for protecting privacy is a feature of Internet Explorer called Tracking Protection. This IE feature--and in-development W3C web standard--blocks the information that some sites can use to track you online, enforcing the user's privacy preferences instead. And Gavin adds that Tracking Protection is complimentary to "Do Not Track," a honor system that the US government is considering requiring of web sites.

Tracking Protection relies on tracking protection lists to do its work. When IE9 first shipped, there were five available tracking protection lists. Now, less than a year later, there are over 20 such lists. And this week, Microsoft is announcing that two leading privacy advocates, Simon Davies and Alexander Hanff of Privacy International, are releasing three new tracking protection lists for Europe, including one focused on protecting children.

If you'd like more information about IE's Tracking Protection feature, please refer to my article Internet Explorer 9 Feature Focus: Tracking Protection.