---- 'Flash Cookies' Anti Hacking Lawsuit Is Thrown Out, But Questions Remain Over Deceptive Tactics
lexipixel - 7:17 am on Aug 21, 2011 (gmt 0)
The title of this thread is misleading. The suit was not "thrown out"... only parts of it;
The claim over deceptive business acts was left in against interclick but thrown out against the corporations that did business with it; the trespass claim against interclick was left in.
The actions these companies take to use hidden / system files like ".SOL" Flash Local Stored Objects for tracking purposes is entirely deceptive and bypasses all consumer controls for protecting their privacy -- and is done for monetary gain.
The recent AOL / BrightCover / ScanScout suit filed in Massachusetts (a Federal class action court case), shows how far the companies can and will go to -- that cases involved online tracking and ties to the offline use of a consumer's credit card and store loyalty card purchases.
(from a 47 page, 170 point complaint filed last month)
9. Defendants wanted to ensure they could track Plaintiff, regardless of her browser controls, so they simply worked around them. Defendants commandeered Plaintiff’s computer, repurposing its software and using her computer storage and her Internet connection to bypass her browser controls. Defendants created a shadow tracking system on her computer, effectively decommissioning the browser cookie controls she had explicitly set. Defendants did so repeatedly, for years, for a significant part of Plaintiff’s Web-browsing, and did likewise to millions of consumers, for years. . . . 94. Last summer, Plaintiff bought chair pads for her kitchen chairs while shopping at a large chain grocery store. At a self-service checkout kiosk, she swiped her store loyalty card and paid for the chair pads with a credit card and also swiped her store loyalty card. Shortly after Plaintiff returned home with her purchase, she checked her e-mail. She was very surprised to receive a Web-enabled e-mail message containing an advertisement from an online merchant for the same chair pads she had just bought.
95. Plaintiff subsequently discovered that, despite her use of browser controls, Defendants had been tracking her online activities and had stored a number of files on her computer.
96. The files Defendants stored on her computer were not browser cookies. They were Adobe Flash Local Stored Objects (LSOs). . . . 137. The means by which Defendants obtained such information, and the reasons Defendants engaged in its campaign to circumvent user deletion of cookies demonstrate the confidential character of such information and users’ efforts to protect it.
This isn't about "cookies" -- and to say a case was "thrown out" is adding to the type jibber-jabber judges need to weed through to figure out the technical implications of what greedy corporations like AOL do to consumers.
AOL and it's "Patch.com" property have recently inked a partnership with American Express for "local deals" (they want to get some of the groupon like ad revenue)... Patch's TOS will permit AOL and AMEX to share your info -- so next time you get denied a car loan or get charged a higher credit card rate it could be because you watched a Huffington Post, Dailyfinance.com, Patch.com or other AOL content news video about foreclosure or bankruptcy -- and the flash based video placed an .SOL file in a hidden directory on your computer and the "partners" shared the info.