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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.
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.
"I now wipe Flash cookies every day with a scheduled .bat script."
Any Flash user (including IE users) can prevent Flash from storing anything (including cookies) by using the Flash Settings Manager, which can be invoked, for example, by visiting:
Likewise, to delete existing Flash cookies, visit e.g.:
The "screenshots" that you will see on those pages are actually not images. They are the actual Flash Settings Manager pages.
Its like "stick shift" and "auto" if you can only drive "auto" ..you shouldnt be on the road ..
ln -s /dev/null .macromedia
All of these developments shine more light on the absurdity of the recent EU "cookie laws".
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.
(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.
Why bother cleaning them? Block them altogether.
Did you untick "allow third party ...."?