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Saturday, February 28, 2009

bug 519 - IE8 InPrivate/Windows Media Player Fail - OS integration issues

Issue: #519
Affects: IE8 (IE6, IE7 also fail the basic privacy issue disclosed below)

So, you think that IE8's InPrivate will cover your tracks when you surf... *cough*, *cough* questionable video content on the Internet?

Think again! do you remember a battle between the D.O.J. (Department Of Justice) and Microsoft over Internet Explorer being "part" of the Operating System and therefore they couldn't remove it to make a even playing field for other Web Browsers?

Well IE is tied to the OS... even if you aren't using IE! because the IE "favorites" and "history" are tied to the OS (not just IE).

So if you went and downloaded/watched some videos in say... Firefox... that opened up in Windows Media Player.

Then in Firefox you clicked the "Clear Private Data" link to remove all traces in Firefox.

Now open IE... and view IE8's History... what on earth?! the videos you watched from Firefox/Windows Media Player now show up in your IE History!

So who gets credit for the bug? Is it Firefox? likely not because it erased all data it stored. So its between Windows Media Player and IE8. In Windows Media Player's options... Privacy Tab... the History checkbox is unchecked - therefore requesting that URL/file history NOT be saved.

So where is the bug? Is Windows Media Player storing history when you told it not to? or is Internet Explorer tracking its own copy of your OS history without consent? or is Windows itself somehow to blame?

Either way Microsoft has a bug to fix. No history means No history.

It should be noted that surfing in IE8's InPrivate, downloading videos, and closing the InPrivate session does seem to clear the history.

Note: This bug was discovered on Windows XP SP3, IE8 RC1 and Windows Media Player 10. (it may not occur in other setups)
Update: This bug affects all versions of IE and Windows (Windows7/IE8 combo not tested yet - please send in a comment if you can confirm that this bug still exists/does not still exist in Windows 7)

Known Workarounds: None.

Related Issues: None.

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