engine - 5:43 pm on Aug 19, 2011 (gmt 0)
'Flash Cookies' Lawsuit Is Thrown Out [paidcontent.org]
The Federal Trade Commission is concerned about the state of online privacy, but the agency doesn’t believe it has the legal authority—yet—to take action against unwanted online tracking. Some internet lawyers, however, believe that existing law allows them to take action to punish trackers in court right now. Those crusades have met with little success, however, and would-be privacy plaintiffs won’t take much comfort from a recent ruling against the online marketing company interclick made clear.
When an internet user deletes his or her cookies, it’s often to inhibit online tracking. But some services—including, allegedly, interclick—use so-called “Flash cookies” to re-spawn the HTTP cookie. That is, they take data stored by Adobe’s Flash player and use it to slip a cookie back into the same computer that the user just deleted it from.
The judge threw out the anti-hacking claim entirely, saying that Bose didn’t suffer any real damage to her computer because of Flash cookies. The claim over deceptive business acts was left in against interclick but thrown out against the corporations that did business with it; the tresspass claim against interclick was left in.
Stealthy 'Supercookies' [online.wsj.com]
Major websites such as MSN.com and Hulu.com have been tracking people's online activities using powerful new methods that are almost impossible for computer users to detect, new research shows.
The new techniques, which are legal, reach beyond the traditional "cookie," a small file that websites routinely install on users' computers to help track their activities online. Hulu and MSN were installing files known as "supercookies," which are capable of re-creating users' profiles after people deleted regular cookies, according to researchers at Stanford University and University of California at Berkeley.
Websites and advertisers have faced strong criticism for collecting and selling personal data about computer users without their knowledge, and a half-dozen privacy bills have been introduced on Capitol Hill this year.
Privacy used to be an easier thing to handle. It seems it's all getting far more complex, and tracking is going on whether you know it or not.