Privacy advocates fear that a new tool, soon to be released by Microsoft, will allow the company to track the surfing habits of computer users. Microsoft, of course, claims that the company has no intention of doing so, but opponents of the new "Phishing Filter" which is designed to warn computer users about "phishing" an online identity theft scam, are already raising questions about how this feature will work, and what it means for privacy.
Kevin Bankston, an attorney and Internet privacy expert with the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, worries that this is potentially "a wholesale handing over of one's privacy to Microsoft. I would say, right now, definitely don't use this. If you're careful, you don't need this."
Users do have the option of turning the filter off, and Microsoft says that the company has no plans to retain information contained in those queries.
"We don't store that information," said Greg Sullivan, Microsoft Windows group product manager. "There is no server event log, no data base, no hosted event file."