In a post to the Internet Explorer development team's blog, Microsoft has confirmed previous reports that its forthcoming Internet Explorer 8 browser would allow users to cover their digital tracks while surfing the web. Three new features will be introduced sharing the "InPrivate" name, which Microsoft filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office several weeks ago.

With InPrivate Browsing, one of the new features, a user will be able to control whether IE 8 saves their browsing history, cookies, and other Internet data. InPrivate Blocking and InPrivate Subscription will notify users of third-party content that can track browsing history and subscribe to lists of sites to block, respectively, while a fourth feature called "Delete Browsing History" offers a customizable control panel to specify which data should be kept and what should be discarded.

The move so far is drawing mixed reactions. While privacy advocates are cheering the new controls, advertisers on the other hand are concerned that such features could create a significant roadblock to effective online ads - potentially affecting a plethora of websites like our own that rely on advertising revenue to stay afloat.

Ad blocking software has been around for years. However, never before has one of the most-used browsers in the world provided such functionality as a built-in feature. Microsoft says it has not designed the new tools to avoid or limit advertising, but conceded that it could have that effect. We will just have to wait to find out to what extent when IE8 Beta 2 debuts later this month.