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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

Dig Deeper on Web browsers and applications

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