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Privacy Advertising The Courts

Lawsuit Hits Companies Using 'Zombie' Flash Cookies 140

Posted by kdawson
from the brains-for-a-filling dept.
A privacy activist has filed a lawsuit targeting eight corporate users of Quantcast's "zombie" Flash cookies, in addition to Quantcast itself. The suit alleges that MTV, ESPN, MySpace, Hulu, ABC, Scribd, and others used Quancast's Flash-based cookies to recreate browser tracking cookies that users had taken the trouble to delete. "At issue is technology from Quantcast, also targeted in the lawsuit. Quantcast created Flash cookies that track users across the web, and used them to re-create traditional browser cookies that users deleted from their computers. These 'zombie' cookies came to light last year, after researchers at UC Berkeley documented deleted browser cookies returning to life. Quantcast quickly fixed the issue, calling it an unintended consequence of trying to measure web traffic accurately. ... The lawsuit (PDF)... asks the court to find that the practice violated eavesdropping and hacking laws, and that the practice of secretly tracking users also violated state and federal fair trade laws. The lawsuit alleges a 'pattern of covert online surveillance' and seeks status as a class action lawsuit."
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Lawsuit Hits Companies Using 'Zombie' Flash Cookies

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  • DMCA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by giorgist (1208992) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @10:11PM (#33052962)
    Doesn't this fall under the unticircumvention law.
    I protect my privacy
    You circumvent it

    Can we not use their own laws against them ?
  • Re:On LInux: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by John Hasler (414242) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @10:34PM (#33053072) Homepage

    rm -rf ~/.adobe/Flash_Player/* ~/.macromedia/Flash_Player/*
    ln -s /dev/null ~/.adobe/Flash_Player/AssetCache
    ln -s /dev/null ~/.macromedia/Flash_Player/#SharedObjects
    ln -s /dev/null ~/.macromedia/Flash_Player/macromedia.com

    Or just get rid of Adobe Flash entirely.

  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @10:54PM (#33053146) Homepage

    Yes. If you tighten up the privacy controls enough on Flash, many video sites won't play, and some play badly. YouTube's player, for example, will display the "Press ESC to exit full screen mode" for the duration of play. There's absolutely no reason why that feature should depend on storing persistent information. It would be interesting to subpoena the developer and the documentation during development to determine if that was willfully put in to discourage users from using strict privacy settings.

  • by dissy (172727) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:35PM (#33053344)

    Don't blame Quantcast. They're using the technology as Macromedia intended - to violate your privacy.

    So, as you say they are purposely using software designed to violate your privacy. Why exactly shouldn't we blame them for that again?

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