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Adobe to roll out Flash cookie removal tool

Flash Player Settings Manager to be simplified

Adobe Flash Player logo

Adobe has developed a tool which it claims can remove Flash cookies.

Known as NPAPI ClearSitedata, the new tool can be used by consumers to swiftly block Flash cookies from tracking their browsing behaviour.

Flash cookies are a component within Flash applications, such as Adobe Flash Player. Originally, their task was simply to store and retrieve user information to provide a better browsing experience.

But Flash cookies are now being used by many websites to track their visitors’ web browsing habits for behavioural marketing purposes.

If you are concerned about cookies, take a look at Which?’s guide to help maintain your privacy

In an effort to address criticism over the privacy violations associated with Flash cookies, Adobe said it was collaborating with several browser vendors, including Google and Mozilla, to integrate the Flash cookie removal tool within their browsers.

Which? Computing understands that the tool is already developed and is expected to be available via Google Chrome’s web browser within two weeks.

Adobe said it was also simplifying its Flash Player Settings Manager, making it easier for consumers to understand and manage their Flash Player settings and privacy preferences. The Player Settings Manager allows users to restrict flash cookie storage.

Simplifications to the Player Settings Manager will be available within the first half of the year, Adobe said. 

Which? responds

Rob Reid, Which? senior policy adviser welcomed both announcements. ‘Consumers take their online privacy seriously and any tools which enable them to have greater control over who can track them online are a positive development,’ he said.

‘But providing the tools alone is not enough. They must also be both easy to use and easy to find in the browser’s toolbars in order to better enable consumers to have more control over their online privacy.’

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