Flash cookies can be evil. How to control and remove them

NY Times explains why – and that some computer users are suing.

The technology, so-called Flash cookies, is bringing an increasing number of federal lawsuits against media and technology companies and growing criticism from some privacy advocates who say the software may also allow the companies to create detailed profiles of consumers without their knowledge.

Here’s how to manage and control them.

Use the Adobe Flash Settings configuration

Change your settings to not allow third party content

You can change whatever settings you want.  Here’s a helpful tutorial. This is geeky stuff and not particularly user-friendly. But it’s essential if you want to insure your privacy.

The BetterPrivacy add-on for Firefox manages them

Using Better Privacy, you can view and delete the cookies

Better Privacy serves to protect against not deletable longterm cookies, a new generation of ‘Super-Cookie’, which silently conquered the internet. This new cookie generation offers unlimited user tracking to industry and market research. Concerning privacy Flash- and DOM Storage objects are most critical.

This addon was made to make users aware of those hidden, never expiring objects and to offer an easy way to get rid of them – since browsers are unable to do that for you.

As usual, the federal government, in this case the FTC, has been asleep at the wheel, when they’re not blathering about how self-regulation should solve the problem. So we need to do it ourselves.

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