Deleting your browser cookies is supposed to throw websites off your trail, but that isn't always the case. All a determined website has to do is drop a backup cookie into Adobe Flash's local storage, so unless you clean that out as well, they can still track you. These so-called 'zombie cookies' aren't something that only obscure websites use, but according to InfoWorld.com, several prominent sites -- Disney, ABC, ESPN, MTV, and many others -- have been using this approach, and have ended up in court as a result.
So what, if anything, is Adobe doing to ensure a user's privacy isn't compromised?
"Since local storage allows sites and apps to remember information, there are concerns about the use of local storage to store tracking information – or of greater concern, to restore tracking information to a browser cookie that a user has intentionally deleted," Adobe's Emmy Huang wrote in a blog post. "This use of local data storage has raised questions about privacy. So we’re continually working to make sure that users have better control over the local data stored by applications running in Flash Player.
"Most recently, we’ve been collaborating with browser vendors to integrate LSO management with the browser UI. The first capability, one that we believe will have the greatest immediate impact, is to allow users to clear LSOs (and any local storage, such as that of HTML5 and other plugin technologies) from the browser settings interface—similar to how users can clear their browser cookies today."
Adobe claims it's working with Mozilla and Google to define a new browser API for clearing local data, and that you'll see this feature show up soon on the Google Chrome dev channel. After that, you can expect this capability to come integrated in all major browsers.