Moving from my desktop and laptop to a Surface RT has changed the way I surf the web. The Surface RT allows me to comfortably read in my chair, or in bed, without a 7lb monitor and keyboard combination in my lap. The Surface RT is a great way to catch up on blogs, articles, or even fact checking interesting things I am watching on American Experience.
One area that has really bugged me with the Surface is the advertisements on websites. Most ads sit in the corner of the website and tell me about great hotels and discount vacations to Peru. That is great, but what gets me is advertisements that misbehave. Ads that pop up on the screen, open new windows, or even scroll with you in the middle of the screen when you try to read. On a desktop, and desktop OS, you can close these ads much easier, but try hitting that tiny X when it is off screen on a tablet device.
Internet Explorer 9 introduced a feature called “Tracking Protection”. What this feature does is prevent your browser from displaying content from websites that us tracking cookies, or cookies that follow you from site to site. By default, it is disabled. If you enable it, any site that track you across 10 or more websites is automatically blocked.
Do you want to take it a set further and block more sites automatically? There are several third party list that are maintained that will block ads automatically. A list of providers is available at http://www.iegallery.com/en-us/trackingprotectionlists
I use EasyList and FanBoy’s List to maintain my tracking protection. By default I am spared from any website tracking, as well as preventing pop ups and different types of “floating advertising”. These list are very aggressive in blocking content. Other providers such as TRUSTe allow advertising that is from companies that demonstrate respectful consumer privacy practices.
A nice side effect of this is that browsing is much faster. Without the web browser having to fetch content from multiple sites, the main page loads in half the time that it did before.
To enable the tracking protection list, just browse to: http://www.iegallery.com/en-us/trackingprotectionlists and add the list you want to add.
If you need to remove, or manage a list, open the desktop version of Internet Explorer.
Alt –> Tools –> Internet Options –> Programs
Click on Manage Add Ons.
From here you can enable, disable, or remove a Tracking Protection List. Your Personalized List will also show sites that are automatically added, or you can add sites manually.
I first enabled this feature on my Surface RT, due to a website that I like to read on a daily basis, but due to the format of their advertisements the site was un-readable on the tablet. All the tips here work on any IE 9 or newer web browser, on Windows 7 or Windows 8.
Internet security and advertising go hand in hand. We need to have a fast and smooth browsing experience, and advertisements and the servers they are hosted on are often not very fast, or secure. Tracking your browsing habits, and sending that information to other companies without your knowledge or consent can be controlled by setting the proper settings in your browser. The built in Tracking Protection List in IE 9 and IE 10 is a great way to improve your browsing experience.