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FTC Is In Talks With Adobe About the 'Flash Problem'

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  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @06:50PM (#34454268) Journal
    Flash player settings has an option to set the amount of local storage permitted for the player. What happens if I set that amount to zero and mark it permanent (i.e. check box remember)? Would it remove the ability of the flash player to set cookies?
    • by characterZer0 (138196) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @06:56PM (#34454314)

      I have read that rm -rf ~/.adobe; mkdir ~/.adobe; chmod 000 ~/.adobe does the trick. Can anybody confirm?

      • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @07:00PM (#34454340)

        No. None of us really uses Linux. We just say that to look cool.

      • Probably would work... Well, I'd simply do "rm ~/.adobe/*; chmod 500 ~/.adobe/*", which would be shorter and keep read/access rights to said directory.

        That said, if Flash expects to be able to write to that directory, it might crash when it tries to utilize it. So it really isn't a foolproof method.

        As per this moment, under .adobe in my home directory exists the following structure: "~/.adobe/Flash_Player/AssetCache/VSUUJTSX/". The directory is probably randomly generated just like profile directories in Mozilla (harder to predict in case of a flaw in the plugin/browser). In there are just files with the extensions .swz and .heu and one file called "cacheSize.txt". None of these files seems to be human readable (well, okay cacheSize.txt makes somehow sense). Oddly enough, the oldest file is from 25th September 2010. As I use my browser daily and don't mind youtube or the odd flash game, this is strange indeed. I would nearly say that they stopped using it.

        • it doesn't crash. i did this in my work PC and it works like a charm. no flash crap on my $HOME after i made .adobe read only and owned by a diferent user.

        • by Skapare (16644)

          mount -t tmpfs tmpfs /home/${user}/.adobe

        • by ultranova (717540)

          That said, if Flash expects to be able to write to that directory, it might crash when it tries to utilize it. So it really isn't a foolproof method.

          Simply put into your crontab "rm -Rf ~/.adobe/*" to be executed once per minute.

          • I just use BetterPrivacy. It clears your flash cookies whenever Firefox launches or closes, and causes no issues.

      • by ilikejam (762039)

        Flash player also creates a ~/.macromedia directory...

      • by rrohbeck (944847)

        I have read that rm -rf ~/.adobe; mkdir ~/.adobe; chmod 000 ~/.adobe does the trick. Can anybody confirm?

        Looks reasonable. I did
        rm -rf ~/.adobe;touch ~/.adobe;rm -rf ~/.macromedia;touch ~/.macromedia;

      • by anton_kg (1079811)
        it should, but there is a legal way of doing it. Just edit /etc/adobe/mms.cfg file and deny everything.
      • by mrmeval (662166)

        Volume control problems. One of my extensions deletes LSOs so I'm good.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 05, 2010 @11:06PM (#34455976)

        I actually did this and it does not work. Many sites are broken (hypem.com to name one of them). An alternative that works fine for me, is rm -rf ~/.adobe ~/.macromedia ; ln -s /tmp ~/.adobe ; ln -s /tmp ~/.macromedia. Since /tmp is cleared at every reboot, I get "session" cookies but never persistent ones. Yay.

        • by Windowser (191974)
          You mean, you actually reboot ?
          • by tepples (727027)

            You mean, you actually reboot ?

            I reboot my laptop once a day or more because suspend still drains the battery.

            • by profplump (309017)

              Have you considered finding a laptop manufactured after 1984? Mine runs for more than a week in suspend mode.

              • by tepples (727027)

                Have you considered finding a laptop manufactured after 1984?

                Dell Mini 10, manufactured in 2010, won't hold a charge in suspend for more than a couple days.

      • by littlewink (996298) on Monday December 06, 2010 @12:03AM (#34456258)

        I have read that rm -rf ~/.adobe; mkdir ~/.adobe; chmod 000 ~/.adobe does the trick. Can anybody confirm?

        That's not enough on Ubuntu: copies of the same "cookies" are kept also in two other directories:

        • .macromedia.flashplayer.(macromedia.com).support.flashplayer.sys
        • .macromedia.flashplayer.#SharedObjects.xxxxxx

        where xxxxxx is a hashed string.

      • by Jim Hall (2985)

        I took a similar tactic. I run Linux (Fedora 14) and simply created a Startup entry that deleted my local Adobe Flash storage whenever I login to GNOME. Since I logout at the end of the day, this effectively clears out my Flash cache. Flash can keep what data it likes, but it can only keep it for a day.

        In GNOME, click System - Preferences - Startup Applications. Then click Add to add a new entry. For the command, I just typed rm -rf /home/jhall/.adobe

    • by IrrepressibleMonkey (1045046) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @07:11PM (#34454422)
      Not sure, but experience shows that most Flash sites will stop working when you deny storage rights.
      • by symbolset (646467) * on Sunday December 05, 2010 @07:27PM (#34454540) Journal
        If the site requires the ability to store flash evercookies as a cost of viewing the site, I'm OK with not being able to see their content. It's too much to pay.
        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          Well there are a couple of other choices, at least if you are on Windows. One you can use a third party tool like CCleaner [ninite.com] (which I prefer this link as it is a fully automated install that doesn't ask to install Chrome and will install CCleaner to the right click of the recycle bin) that has a nice little checkbox for cleaning out Flash crap, or Two if you don't mind spending some money for some cool extras you can pick up SuperSpeed RAMDisk [superspeed.com] and set your temp folders to a RAMDisk which will be wiped on rebo

        • If the site requires the ability to store flash evercookies as a cost of viewing the site, I'm OK with not being able to see their content.

          Unless it is the web site of one of your suppliers (which holds a near-monopoly in the industry) or one of your clients.

      • I've had good luck letting them read and write /dev/null.

    • Flash player settings has an option to set the amount of local storage permitted for the player. What happens if I set that amount to zero and mark it permanent (i.e. check box remember)?

      pIt probably still stores locally a flag that says you don't want it to store any data locally. Nuking it from orbit is probably the only way to be sure (it doesn't store data locally).

    • by Ahnteis (746045)

      It's annoying because either some sites won't work ("never ask me again") or it'll pop up 300 times asking for more storage.

      However, if you use Firefox, you can download the "BetterPrivacy" addon and just wipe them every time you start (or close?) the browser. No more tracking. (Whitelist, etc available)

  • what do you think? That I have time to read that fine article? Are you crazy? I like reading slashdot because of all those short summaries. And now, you didn't bother to even write a summary. So why do you bother to submit it?

    Because you are glad, that adobe needs to provide a way to remove their stupid cookies?

    • Re:RTFA ?? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by larry bagina (561269) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @06:55PM (#34454304) Journal

      Simple: this is slashdot and we hate flash and want to eliminate it. Except on the iPhone. We don't use the iPhone and don't know anybody that does, but it needs to support flash for some reason.

      • by jc42 (318812)

        We don't use the iPhone and don't know anybody that does, but it needs to support flash for some reason.

        My wife has an iPhone (which we frequently compare with my G1). She watches a fair number of videos on it, including youtube, and she hasn't expressed any problems with this. She has noticed the lack of flash ads in a lot of sites' pages, but she doesn't consider that a problem, either.

        If she's any example of the typical Apple fanperson, Apple just might do well to continue to block flash. Maybe they should make this an option for Macs, too.

      • Many Slashdotters use an iPhone, myself included.

      • Or, you know there are at least 561269 on shashdot and some of them hae different opinions.

      • by RulerOf (975607)

        Simple: this is slashdot and we hate flash and want to eliminate it

        No no no... we hate flash because it sucks. We want flash to die to a better technology or for Adobe to get off their asses and fix it.

        If you'll excuse me, I'll be turning up the volume so I can hear the YouTube video over my computer's fans.

        • We want flash to die to a better technology or for Adobe to get off their asses and fix it.

          Yeah, like HTML5, which supports TrueType font embedding, animated vector graphics, MP3 sound and MP4 video all right out-of-the-box. And has continued to do so for the past decade.

          Oh, wait.

      • We don't want to install Flash on the iPhone, we want the possibility of doing so without Apple choosing it for us. Flash is just a notorious example of the iP* platform restrictions any geek/hacker should loath.

      • by N0Man74 (1620447)

        It's not so much about a burning desire to have Flash on an iPhone, but rather resentment that Apple tells us that we aren't allowed to have Flash on our iPhone. We want freedom more than flash content, which is why some of us have indeed skipped the iPhone entirely.

        However, not knowing anyone that uses an iPhone? Really? The number of iPhone users I know is double the number of Blackberry or Android users combined.. It's hard to throw a stone without hitting an iPhone user.

    • by PNutts (199112)

      I like reading slashdot because of all those short summaries. And now, you didn't bother to even write a summary.

      It looks like someone got their twitter ~ /. accounts confused.

  • by alvinrod (889928) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @06:57PM (#34454322)
    More and more, its looking like Steve Jobs was right (albeit for the wrong reasons) about Flash. HTML 5 is capable of replacing Flash in 95% of cases and in almost all of those cases provides better performance and accessibility. Ending the web's dependence on Flash is a lot like ending dependence on foreign energy.
    • by causality (777677) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @07:05PM (#34454386)

      Ending the web's dependence on Flash is a lot like ending dependence on foreign energy.

      1. It's a really good idea. 2. It's well within our ability to do it. 3. There are a million excuses for why no one is seriously committed to making it happen.

      I think you've come up with an excellent analogy.

      • Yeah 50 years from now a guy on a tech news/comedy show (which will ironically be one of the best tech news sources) will probably make a montage of people talking about ending the web's dependence on Flash over the last 50 years :-(

    • by JackAxe (689361)
      Let's see some proof to back up your claims about HTML 5.
    • by dbIII (701233)
      He basicly just said that flash is shit instead of delivering a two page bullet point list of exactly why. Many have said that but he was just in a position where he does not need to support it.
    • Weren't those exactly the reasons Jobs gave?

    • by yuhong (1378501)

      Not that it don't have it's own storage, though.

    • It isn't about accessibility or to an extent, performance... if you release an application toolset similar to Flex/Flash or Silverlight (VS/Blend) that produce outut as readily, while targetting HTML5, that might be true,,, if you could package html5 apps into a single package to download like SWF or XAP (in the browsers), that might be true as welll. I really enjoy web application development, but those two points are what will hold broader HTML5 support in the wild back... Server-side prorammers prefer a
  • THIS is a summary? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rorschach1 (174480) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @07:14PM (#34454450) Homepage

    Seriously, WTF? How about a sentence telling us what the 'flash problem' is, and maybe a bit about WHY the article is interesting?

    • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Sunday December 05, 2010 @07:21PM (#34454506) Homepage Journal

      I believe the problem may have something to do with persistent cookies. I'm not sure why I have this impression ... it's just some idea that came to me out of nowhere ... oh, wait, I know where that idea came from! I read the first goddamn sentence of the summary.

    • by drolli (522659)

      It was meant to be a tweet.

      x@x:~$ wc
      FTC Is In Talks With Adobe About the 'Flash Problem'; "Flash isn't actually necessary to watch YouTube videos, but the rest of this article is interesting."
                  1 26 157

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by eL-gring0 (1950736)

      From TFA: "While a browser can remove “normal” HTTP cookies, the privacy controls in a web browser like Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) Internet Explorer can’t remove Flash cookies, which can only be removed by using two separate services available on Adobe’s web site."

      Also: "At least one browser, Google Chrome, now allows users to control the Flash cookies from within their browser’s privacy controls."

      I'm ignorant of other browsers' features, being relatively happy w

      • by Arker (91948)
        Everyone knows Firefox is useless without plugins. "Objection" handles LSOs.
      • ...being relatively happy with my Firefox/Adblock/Noscript bubble of sanity...

        You might want to look at the BetterPrivacy Add-on as well as the above. It is a whitelist based manager of Flash cookies. Which are used by a surprising number of sites that don't use Flash in any obvious way, including Gmail.com (whose Flash cookie I allow).

        BetterPrivacy [mozilla.org] for Firefox. The developer's site [netticat.ath.cx], with links to reviews of BetterPrivacy in half a dozen big name magazines.

    • Good thing you pointed that out. The article is talking specifically about the privacy issues of Flash cookies.

      The "Flash problem" as geeks know it is that a full browsing experience depends on a closed-source plugin (with a terrible security history), compatible only with select browsers and platforms (with vastly different release schedules for the plugin on different OSes), made by a single company for the display of in-page video and complex interactive content. When I saw the article title I thought th

  • Flash (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @08:13PM (#34454900)
    Flash has seen its day come and go. With Webm and HTML5, Flash will be killed off!
  • What the FTC or whatever needs to do is not to build some Do-Not-Call system for Internet tracking. It's pointless to fine them insignificantly, and they never delete the data. Besides, they share it everywhere, and it's gone and done in minutes. Scattered everywher.

    No, the FTC or whatever should build a Do-Not-TRY system. Internet sites should be required to not even try to track us, and honor a 'Universal Do-Not-Try-To-Track' cookie. Essentially, getting caught leaving cookies otherwise should be evi

    • by Bob Uhl (30977)

      Essentially, getting caught leaving cookies otherwise should be evidence of the attempt, and bill them.

      So you want to enter your username and password every time you reload a page, every time you post a comment &c.? Or you're cool with URLs which look like 'http://www.example.com/page?sessid=37a1-fb6c-9372-11de' instead or 'http://foo:bar@www.example.com/page' instead of 'http://www.example.com/page'?

      Do you even know what cookies are, what they do or why they were added in the first place?

      • by rickb928 (945187)

        Yes, dear, I know what cookies are, and why they were conceived.

        Since you're still in the box, I'll lift the lid for you.

        Since we really can;t ban cookies, and since we can't even tell the difference between a 'tracking cookie' and any number of useful and innocuous cookies, we're stuck with figuring out that we are being tracked, usually by accident. In this environment, theh FTC has a Sisyphean task in trying to implement a 'do-not-track' option for Internet users. Let's leave the foreign sites, aggrega

      • by rickb928 (945187)

        Oh, and I'm cool with URLs that look like:

        'https://www.example.com/page?sessid=37a1-fb6c-9372-11de'

        Works for me.

    • Internet sites should be required to not even try to track us, and honor a 'Universal Do-Not-Try-To-Track' cookie.

      Web sites that encounter people who have opted out of tracking cookies will likely require them to register and log in before reading an article beyond the first paragraph. If most of the major news sites do this, starting with Fox News (and other Murdoch properties) and spreading to competitors, watch people opt back in.

  • by Hyperhaplo (575219) on Sunday December 05, 2010 @10:54PM (#34455914)

    Firefox plugin BetterPrivacy - https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/6623/ [mozilla.org] - will delete LSOs

    It can be set up to automatically delete LSO on browser exit; on a timer (every x minutes/hours/days) or manually

    It allows you to set a whitelist (protection list).

    It doesn't 'solve' the problem; but in the mean time it at least breaks part of the cycle.

    Also: Ghostery - https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/9609/ [mozilla.org] - helps to stop the problem in the fire place.

    Used with Ad Block Plus - https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1865/ [mozilla.org] - it makes surfing the web much better.

    The Wild West era ended when there was no one left to conflict with.. right?

fortune: cannot execute. Out of cookies.

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