posted on Aug, 10 2009 @ 07:20 PM
By Ryan Singel August 10, 2009 | 7:39 pm
More than half of the internet’s top web sites use a little known capability of Adobe’s Flash plugin to track users and store information about
them, but only four of them mention the so-called Flash Cookies in their privacy policies, UC Berkeley researchers reported Monday.
Unlike traditional browser cookies, Flash cookies are relatively unknown to web users, and they are not controlled through the cookie privacy controls
in a browser. That means even if a user thinks they have cleared their computer of tracking objects, they most likely have not.
What’s even sneakier?
Several services even use the surreptitious data storage to reinstate traditional cookies that a user deleted, which is called re-spawning in homage
to video games where zombies come back to life even after being ‘killed,’ the report found. So even if a user gets rid of a web site’s tracking
cookie, that cookie’s unique ID will be assigned back to a new cookie again using the Flash data as the ‘backup.’
Even the Whitehouse.gov showed up in the report, with researchers reporting they found a Flash cookie with the name ‘userId.’ The site does say in
traditionally been banned from using tracking cookies, despite being common around the web — a situation the Obama administration is proposing to
change as part of an attempt to modernize government web sites.
But the debate shouldn’t be about allowing browser cookies or not, according Ashkan Soltani, a UC Berkeley graduate student who helped lead the
“If users don’t want to be tracked and there is a problem with tracking, then we should regulate tracking, not regulate cookies,” Soltani
Rest of the story is HERE