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How come Microsoft Internet Explorer collects my data?

Some users have noticed that Microsoft Internet Explorer collects personal information through its AutoComplete feature. There is a way to turn it off.

The collection and use of personal information can be attributed to Microsoft Internet Explorer's AutoComplete feature. The basic idea behind this feature is that it is designed to be a time saver. If for example, you are shopping in an online store, AutoComplete can automatically enter your shipping address so that you do not have to type it manually.

Of course, this functionality raises some privacy concerns. AutoComplete should never be used on a public or shared computer. Similarly, some IT security experts have expressed concern about using AutoComplete even on a private computer for fear that the personal data that is collected could be exploited by malware.

AutoComplete can be configured within Microsoft Internet Explorer. To do so, click on the Tools icon (the icon in the upper-right corner that looks like a gear) and then click on Internet Options. When the Internet Options dialog box appears, select the Content tab and then click the Settings button found in the AutoComplete section.

The resulting AutoComplete Settings dialog box allows you to enable and disable AutoComplete for a number of different functions. Within the Internet Explorer address bar, AutoComplete can be used for browsing history, favorites, feeds, using Windows Search for better results and suggesting URLs. Each of these functions can be enabled or disabled individually.

The AutoComplete Settings dialog box also allows AutoComplete to be enabled or disabled for form data and for usernames and passwords. All of these settings can be enabled or disabled on an individual basis. By default, AutoComplete is not used for form data, but it is used for passwords. However, IE is configured by default to prompt the user prior to saving passwords.

Those who have concerns about privacy can easily disable AutoComplete by deselecting the various check boxes. There are also buttons that can be clicked to manage passwords and to delete AutoComplete history.

Next Steps

Use Group Policy to lock down Internet Explorer 11 settings

Why is security an ongoing challenge for IE?

How to prevent data collection in Windows 8 apps

Use Modern.ie to test browser app compatibility

Troubleshoot Internet Explorer 10 for better performance

This was last published in January 2015

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What are your biggest browser security and privacy concerns? How have you addressed them?
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My biggest browser security issue lies across tracking cookies from sites I visit, which could be used to maliciously install spyware or malware on my PC. I am also afraid that too many websites are collecting information about my personal day-to-day undertakings online, yet such information could be used for malicious intentions.

To curb this, I customize my internet explore browser features to suit my preferences on how I want to browse various sites online.
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Who's to say browser vendors aren't tracking every single action we take while using their software? We'll find out one day I suppose, similar to the revelations of the NSA.
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The number of sites using analytics, beacons, and trackers has risen in recent years.  It is nearly impossible to find  a site that doesn't use some of them.  However, let's not assume the worse here.  There are lots of reasons a company may want to collect data about how their products are used.  

1. It could provide a better idea of how people are using their product.
2. It can provide details about areas that customers are having issues with.

In both of these cases a little data about usage can go a long way to helping identify problems, and helping to better craft new feature delivery to better serve you as a customer.

The issue is that some companies spend a lot of their energy collecting things that have more to do with things which have the potential to be misused.  For this we have plugins like Ghosertly, AdBlock Plus, and malware blocking tools that plugin to browsers and help identify and prevent certain organizations from collecting things we might not want.
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The latest Verizon phones have a super cookie built into them. I believe browsers can (and might already) have this function. That data sits somewhere and it's a danger to anyone who wants to keep their information and history safe. My concerns are with online banking, investing and purchasing sites. This is where browsers should be more like TOR and less like Yahoo mail. I do not want you to remember my information when I visit a $$ site. But you can certainly keep my info on hand to make it easy for me to make a trade during Fantasy Football season. That's it in a nutshell.
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"Personal" the information becomes if tied to a person's name or at least user account. On public PCs the account is generic.
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It's all a trade off. If we want our information filled in automatically, then that information has to be stored somewhere.

We want all the benefits of data acquisition, but we're horrified that some faceless entity is acquiring our data. Fight it though we may, this genii will not crawl back into the bottle.
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It may be a feature we are stuck with with no way out. If you are the only one using the computer I do not see it as a big deal. If its a shared computer, I always try to avoid any personal business on these for fear of viruses and key loggers. Some thin it may be a nuisance but if you order a lot of things on line for your business I do no want to have to keep typing in may address all day. I like the auto fill.
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