The FTC Still Wondering If Cookies Can Behave…

March 1, 2010
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As the FTC continues its discussions on behavioral marketing and how it relates to privacy, new information regarding flash cookies has been brought to light. In previous discussions, the possibility of requiring consumers to opt-in to allowing marketers to place cookies on their machines has been the topic at hand. It’s fairly well-known that regardless of the ability to opt-in or not, cookies are deletable, all modern browsers have the ability to ‘clear out’ any cookies, cache, or history from your machine.

As usual, technology is one step ahead and marketers have begun to use Flash cookies to target behavior. Flash applications store their information in a separate place than typical web cookies, and asking your browser to ‘delete cookies’ may not…

As the FTC continues its discussions on behavioral marketing and how it relates to privacy, new information regarding flash cookies has been brought to light. In previous discussions, the possibility of requiring consumers to opt-in to allowing marketers to place cookies on their machines has been the topic at hand. It’s fairly well-known that regardless of the ability to opt-in or not, cookies are deletable, all modern browsers have the ability to ‘clear out’ any cookies, cache, or history from your machine.

As usual, technology is one step ahead and marketers have begun to use Flash cookies to target behavior. Flash applications store their information in a separate place than typical web cookies, and asking your browser to ‘delete cookies’ may not get the job done.

Eric Goldman, director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University, pointed out that companies’ use of Flash illustrates a longstanding pattern in which technology evolves faster than consumers’ knowledge. The result, he says is a “gap created between what technology can do and what consumers want.” –mediapost


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