Friday, August 20, 2010

How it works now: Big Brother beckons with a smile and the promise to entertain us

The internet as most consumers of online media know it is filled with goodies that are brought to us by so-called the Adobe Flash player. Turns out that many of the top sites are riddled with "zombie cookies."
A wide swath of the 'Net's top websites, including MTV, ESPN, MySpace, Hulu, ABC, NBC and Scribd, were sued in federal court Friday on the grounds they violated federal computer intrusion law by secretly using storage in Adobe's Flash player to recreate cookies deleted by users.

At issue is technology from Quantcast, also targeted in the lawsuit. Quantcast created Flash cookies that track users across the Web, and used them to recreate traditional browser cookies that users deleted from their computers. These “zombie” cookies came to light last year, after researchers at UC Berkeley documented deleted browser cookies returning to life. Quantcast quickly fixed the issue, calling it an unintended consequence of trying to measure Web traffic accurately.
Steve Jobs took a lot of heat for not supporting Flash on the iPhone and iPad. Looks like he had a point after all.

(Via Holden Richards)

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