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Adobe Rolls Out Privacy Controls In Flash Player 10.3 63

Posted by Soulskill
from the things-most-people-will-ignore dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Adobe has released Flash Player 10.3, which includes enhanced privacy controls for how your activity is tracked online. Users can now clear local storage — sometimes known as 'Flash cookies' — on versions of Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox. Flash cookies, or local shared objects, made headlines last year when the Federal Trade Commission released a report that called on browser makers to include a 'do not track' option in their products. The FTC also mentioned Adobe because it said the cookies gathered by Flash are collected regardless of the browser's settings."
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Adobe Rolls Out Privacy Controls In Flash Player 10.3

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  • Flush (Score:5, Informative)

    by conner_bw (120497) * on Friday May 13, 2011 @03:00PM (#36121690) Homepage Journal

    I first took notice of these abominable cookies last year when I read an article about the Evercookie [slashdot.org].

    At the time I freaked out and found Flush [machacks.tv] for OSX. I've been using it ever since.

    Flash Cookies are appended with `.sol`

    Linux:

    ~/.macromedia/Flash_Player/#SharedObjects/

    Mac OS X:

    ~/Library/Preferences/Macromedia/Flash Player/#SharedObjects
    ~/Library/Preferences/Macromedia/Flash Player/macromedia.com/support/flashplayer/sys

    Windows:

    %APPDATA%\Macromedia\Flash Player\#SharedObjects\
      %APPDATA%\Macromedia\Flash Player\macromedia.com\support\flashplayer\sys\

    In my spare time I play sudoko [sudokurush.com].

    Terrible.

    • > Linux: ~/.macromedia/Flash_Player/#SharedObjects/

      "~/.macromedia/Flash_Player/#SharedObjects/ -> /dev/null"
      works for me. I also have "~/.adobe/Flash_Player/AssetCache -> /dev/null".

    • Firefox: BetterPrivacy [mozilla.org]

      Being able to manually delete LSO's is ok but too labour-intensive. The addon above lets you delete-on-close like regular cookies you flag as "allow for session" in FF.

    • I have my ~/.adobe and .macromedia folders linked to a ramdisk. Sometimes it's necessary to allow flash cookies for limited time uses. For example, once southparkstudios.com wouldn't load and temporarily enabling flash cookies resolved the problem (my memory is hazy, but I think this happened about a year and a half ago). Since I turn off my computer every night, it's (hopefully) not a big deal if my cookies are only saved for a few hours/days at a time. Likewise, I think it's relatively safe if I set firef

    • Install the Better Privacy [mozilla.org] addon for Firefox. It lets you manage LSOs and delete them on exit.

  • Hmm, apparently, gnash has been ported to Windows. I'll have to see how well that works. But given that pretty much the only Flash I use is youtube, gnash ought to suffice.

    Given how many things are wrong with Flash, this is barely a blip on the screen.

  • Or, you don't install it.

    Personally, I've hated Flash for almost a decade and don't install it if I can avoid it ... usually my work machines end up needing it for some 3rd party site they force us to use. But, I don't make a habit of having it enabled.

    I'm not sure I can name one instance where I found Flash to be useful or something I'd want. Although, who knows, maybe I'm missing out on something really cool ... but my experience with Flash has primarily been about having half a dozen ads on screen that

    • Or, you don't install it.

      Personally, I've hated Flash for almost a decade and don't install it if I can avoid it ... usually my work machines end up needing it for some 3rd party site they force us to use. But, I don't make a habit of having it enabled.

      I'm not sure I can name one instance where I found Flash to be useful or something I'd want. Although, who knows, maybe I'm missing out on something really cool ... but my experience with Flash has primarily been about having half a dozen ads on screen that are all in motion.

      Well, that and the fact that it's been a gaping security hole since forever.

      I agree... Besides, Flash is just like using JavaScript (well... ActionScript) to animate a bunch of graphics primitives or to stream a video. These are things that browsers can do without Flash -- I mean, HTML5 gives you almost all the same featu r e s --- HEY! Shit! We've been dupped into letting the browser makers create their own integrated version of Flash!

      Oh, never mind -- It's all OK, it will be codified as a web standard...Just like the current HTML4.01 is -- What could possibly go wrong?

    • by plover (150551) *

      Yay for flashblock and noscript. It is the only way to surf with any hope of safety from the drive-by crapware, and even then I don't have a lot of warm fuzzies.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Noscript has *block built in now... you don't need flashblock any more. Works with the noscript trust lists and uses placeholders just like flashblock (Except a noscript icon.)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    A bit more important addition is more tracking : http://slashdot.org/submission/1581820/Flash-Player-103-adds-tracking

    • by icebike (68054)

      A bit more important addition is more tracking : http://slashdot.org/submission/1581820/Flash-Player-103-adds-tracking [slashdot.org]

      Its not at all clear that this is tracking. That term was introduced by the link you posted.

      From the source quoted in the link you posted:

      Media Measurement for Flash allows companies to get real-time, aggregated reporting of how their video content is distributed, what the audience reach is, and how much video is played.

      How distributed, Audience numbers, and how much of the video is actually viewed seem pretty innocuous on their face.
      The devil, of course. is in the details. It could be all server side, with no tracking per say, everything you could currently get from from a web server log (user agent ID, hit counts) plus additional info (such as percent/bytes transmitted) from the stre

      • by causality (777677)

        A bit more important addition is more tracking : http://slashdot.org/submission/1581820/Flash-Player-103-adds-tracking [slashdot.org]

        Its not at all clear that this is tracking. That term was introduced by the link you posted.

        From the source quoted in the link you posted:

        Media Measurement for Flash allows companies to get real-time, aggregated reporting of how their video content is distributed, what the audience reach is, and how much video is played.

        How distributed, Audience numbers, and how much of the video is actually viewed seem pretty innocuous on their face.
        The devil, of course. is in the details. It could be all server side, with no tracking per say, everything you could currently get from from a web server log (user agent ID, hit counts) plus additional info (such as percent/bytes transmitted) from the streaming engine.

        But this is Adobe. So we are left with assuming evil intent or simple incompetence. My Hanlon Meter [wikiquote.org] pegs both pins when Adobe is involved.

        That's just it. The reasonable assumption is that there is no sense in implementing a new "feature" that doesn't tell companies anything they couldn't already know from their HTTP logs. There is already a plethora of tools for parsing HTTP logs and gleaning usage information. As a business decision it wouldn't make much sense for Adobe to create a "me too!" reinvention of that wheel; the resources would be better spent elsewhere. It's well-founded to assume until proven otherwise that this is a more int

  • no autoload (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fermion (181285) on Friday May 13, 2011 @03:27PM (#36121878) Homepage Journal
    All I want is a button that will set flash content to load only with approval. This is already done third party, but if Adobe did it one might think Flash was more than just a method to push near pornographic advertising onto innocent users. As it is, the infrastructure to approve cookies is horribly unreliable.
  • Amazing! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by neoform (551705)

    It's only taken until version 10 for them to add such advanced features such as deleting cookies...

    • by blindseer (891256)

      That's nothing compared to how long it took car manufacturers to take ash trays out of cars.

      Does that qualify as a car analogy?

    • No, they've just added an easier way of deleting cookies. Deleting cookies has been available for as long as they've had LSOs as far as I am aware.
  • Over umpteen versions and so many years, and they still haven't added settings to disable audio (banners and embedded video commercials with audio enabled have become worse over time) and it has only grown increasingly bloated over hogging processing and memory. Thankfully Opera makes it simple and accessible to disable the plugin for the majority of browsing, or even on a per-site basis for the worst offenders. But these are things that Adobe should be implementing so users can take control of what plays

  • by gstrickler (920733) on Friday May 13, 2011 @05:03PM (#36122674)

    I've been running Flash free for several months, except for Flash built in to Chrome. I don't use Chrome as my primary browser, so sites see me as someone without Flash. When I need to access something that requires Flash, I open it in Chrome. If it requires Flash and it won't work in Chrome, I won't use the site.

    Interesting side note, most sites that require Flash give me an incorrect message saying:

    "WE'RE SORRY"

    You need to update your Flash Player.

    I don't need to update anything, I don't have Flash installed, and I want it that way. Very few give me a message saying I need to install Flash Player for the site to function (correctly). Note to site developers, STOP designing sites that require Flash to work.

  • While I'm happy to see this as an end user - they did have good applications as well. They were a great mechanism for tracking fraudsters across cookie wipes... The more savvy ones knew better but for those who didn't it saved us a lot of losses...

  • 64-bit (Score:4, Informative)

    by cratermoon (765155) on Friday May 13, 2011 @05:33PM (#36122888) Homepage
    Still no official support for 64-bit platforms. That Nov 2010 release of 'Square' is the only thing that works on my Firefox 4 64-bit build with Snow Leopard.
    • Agreed. The continued silence from Adobe regarding native 64-bit-capable Flash players for ANY platform is a major problem on their part that needs to be fixed - I haven't heard a word about new 64-bit releases for Windows or Mac OS X, much less Linux.

      • Linux had 64-bit Flash by mid-2008. They just scrapped it, since it sucked horribly, and 'Square' is the beginning of essentially Flash64 version 2.x.
    • It seems non Windows users are left in the cold whether they use 64 bit or not.

      The mac I think finally has video acceleration but the Windows users still have the best experience ... this is for the 32 bit version. Windows 7 has had full hardware acceleration with 64 bit since 10.1.

  • by MrL0G1C (867445) on Friday May 13, 2011 @07:01PM (#36123488) Journal
    Slim quick install versions without crapware at the bottom of page on Adobes site here:
    Slim Version [adobe.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It still accesses the camera and mic. It ain't safe if we can't have the choice of not installing that functionality in the first place.

  • For as long as I've used flash you've had the ability to delete the flash cookies. Does 10.3 make this somehow easier? Becaus otherwise that's a load of bull to mention that as a new feature.

    EDIT: Okay, I've now read TFA, they've made it easier - not that they've made it possible.

  • For about 15 years I would install Flash upon getting a new machine or restoring one. I might go by a few days without downloading the plugin, but eventually there would be some circumstance where I conceded.

    I've been using the iPad most of the day lately and the lack of Flash is rarely a problem, certainly not one that would convince me to leave the couch and go to my desktop. When I do encounter Flash my first thought is, "Good thing this will soon disappear like RealPlayer eventually did.". If your web

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