Did you know that Adobe’s Flash Player installs its own cookies, called “Flash cookies”, in your browser? Did you know that you can’t control and/or delete these Flash cookies through your browser preferences? Did you know that Flash Player can access your computer’s camera and microphone?
Caption: Flash cookies you might not have known about
Flash cookies, Adobe’s so called “shared objects”, store information about your visits which are not properly restricted by your browser’s privacy settings nor in private browsing. Google, Skype, Amazon, Flickr, Joost and even The New York Times all have written Flash cookies to my browser that I could not control from my browser’s own preferences. Weaknesses in earlier Flash cookies enables one website to read other website’s cookies. Hmmm, will my penchant for certain spicy food recipes at one website show up in my Amazon’s book recommendations? Possible, but not likely. Only because Amazon, I think, would not do such an evil thing, right?
Manage your Flash cookies at any time here or, control click on a Flash movie when one is being displayed and select “Settings” (Mac). It’s a web page at Macromedia’s website which accesses your Flash Player settings so you can manage them. The image on that web page is your actual Adobe Flash Player Settings Manager — interact with it.
What’s so creepy about the various Flash Player settings is the camera and microphone access. Which sleazy website might have snapped a picture of your unshaven face, in your penguin print jammies as you played an online Flash game or watched a Flash video presentation?
Here are the other tabulated settings you can manage …
Suggested reading: Flash cookies are referred to as shared objects in this Adobe document | New York Times article “Adobe’s Flash and Apple’s Safari Fail a Privacy Test” | The Electronic Privacy Information Center’s page on Flash Cookies | Wikipedia’s entry on Local Shared Objects