Flash Cookies and Privacy
University of California, Berkeley - School of Information
Jacksonville State University
Louisiana State University
Chris Jay Hoofnagle
University of California, Berkeley - School of Law, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology; Affiliate Faculty
August 10, 2009
This is a pilot study of the use of 'Flash cookies' by popular websites. We find that more than 50% of the sites in our sample are using flash cookies to store information about the user. Some are using it to 'respawn' or re-instantiate HTTP cookies deleted by the user. Flash cookies often share the same values as HTTP cookies, and are even used on government websites to assign unique values to users. Privacy policies rarely disclose the presence of Flash cookies, and user controls for effectuating privacy preferences are lacking.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 8
Keywords: Privacy, tracking, flash, cookies, local stored objects, usability, online advertising, behavioral targeting, self-help
JEL Classification: D18
Date posted: August 11, 2009
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