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posted on Apr, 5 2005 @ 12:52 PM
Advertisers are determined to continue invading our privacy.

By now, all of us should be familiar with the term cookie, a packet of information stored locally on your computer to store everything from your logins to your preferences on where to browse. By now, you probably delete these cookies on a semi-regular basis, to avoid having footprints.

You're not alone. Over half of the U.S. internet users do the same. Why? Because an advertiser has no frickin' business knowing about our private lives outside of the way it applies to their business. That's why! This is the message we repeatedly try sending to advertisers, in the hopes that they will take a hint, and leave us alone.

Far from taking a hint, though, the advertisers have simply found another way to try and track web site visitors. If you thought the weight of "cookies" was hard to get rid of, wait till you see how much you have to go through to get rid of "PIE" (Persistent Identification Element).

PIE acts as a backup for cookies, and is feature of Macromedia's Flash MX, which is a web-content application used in Flash Player (which you probably have).

from Internet Week
"Using technology like United Virtualities's to circumvent consumers could cause a backlash...
(PIE) sounds like it flies in the face of what consumers are telling us. They're seeking privacy and control, and if this is denied, then they won't be happy." - JupiterResearch analyst David Schatsky.

So who do we have to thank for this? United Virtualities. The same company that brought you those god-awful annoying adds that cover up half the page, getting in the way of your reading.

Wouldn't it be nice if we, the consumers, could be as invasive to our tormentors as they are to us? I consider spyware and commercial tracking to be similar to breaking and entering into someone's house, and spraypainting whatever you want on the walls. Now I would never encourage anyone to commit a criminal act, but I wouldn't shed a tear if these people got even a fraction of the annoyances that they throw at us, back in their faces.

Anyway, here's my part to help. Macromedia has instructions on disabling shared objects uploaded to browsers. Alternately, you could raise your security settings in your browser to "highest" but that's like using an 18-wheeler to crush an egg.

Might I also suggest that, if you feel as strongly as I do about this, then you send them many many complaints.

To save you the trouble, here are the email addresses from their site.

I'm sure we have some creative people here who know how to launch a good peaceful, legal protest. Go get 'em.

[edit on 4/5/2005 by thelibra]

posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 12:36 AM
Oh lord you would think that at some point they would get the hint... Imagine how much more fun it will be when us and our cars have transponders which give advertisers yet another data feed.

posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 02:16 AM
Firefox users can simply get the FlashBlock extension at

It will block all Flash content including PIE unless manually activated by the user.

posted on Apr, 6 2005 @ 08:30 AM

Originally posted by BenWang
Firefox users can simply get the FlashBlock extension at

It will block all Flash content including PIE unless manually activated by the user.

Thanks Ben!

I've used Firefox ever since a homepage hijacker took over MSIE twice. I won't ever go back. I'll have to institute this when I get home.

posted on Apr, 16 2005 @ 11:59 AM
And anybody can make their cookie file and cache file 'read only'.

posted on Apr, 17 2005 @ 07:55 PM
i design flash sites for a living, or at least for now.

When I do an update of a flash site, I can't just reload the site and see my edits, the old version will constantly reappear unless I clear the cache on my browser.

Flash semi-permanently stores the content of sites made with the format in the browser cache. Thats why I have to do this to see my changes.
So if you clear your cache, you get rid of the shared objects.
That is the temporary solution, the big one is going into the settings as oulined on the macromedia site, and deleting capability to store shared objects locally.

There is a problem that I see though, I for one have used shared objects a great deal in making sites, and they are beneficial when used legitimately. So in effect his is also a stab in the back for designers too, since they might eventually have to rethink the way they piece together sites once people become aware of PIE.

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