BetterPrivacy - Firefox
Better Privacy serves to protect against special longterm cookies, a new generation of 'Super-Cookie', which silently conquered the Internet. This new cookie generation offers unlimited user tracking to industry and market research. Concerning privacy Flash-cookies are most critical.
This add-on was made to make users aware of those hidden, never expiring objects and to offer an easier way to view and to manage them - since browsers are unable to do that for you.
Flash-cookies (Local Shared Objects, LSO) are pieces of information placed on your computer by a Flash plug-in. Those Super-Cookies are placed in central system folders. They are frequently used like standard browser cookies. Although their thread potential is much higher as of conventional cookies, only few users began to take notice of them. BetterPrivacy
allows to list and manage Flash-cookies, e.g. to remove those objects automatically on browser start, browser exit or by a configurable timer function while certain desired Flash cookies can be excluded from automatic deletion. So this extension becomes sort of "install and forget add-on". Usually automatic deletion is safe (no negative impact on your browsing), especially if the deletion timer is activated. The timer can delay automatic deletion for new or modified Flash-cookies which might be in use. It also allows to delete those objects immediately if desired. Users who wish to to manage all Flash-cookies manually can disable the automatic functions or exclude certain Flash-cookies from automatic deletion.
Some Flash-cookie (LSO) properties in short...
- they are never expiring - staying on your computer for an unlimited time.
- by default they offer a storage of 100 KB (compare: Usual cookies 4 KB).
- browsers are not fully aware of LSO's, They often cannot be displayed or managed by browsers.
- via Flash they can access and store highly specific personal and technical information (system, user name, files,...).
- ability to send the stored information to the appropriate server, without user's permission.
- Flash applications do not need to be visible
- there is no easy way to tell which Flash-cookie sites are tracking you.
- shared folders allow cross-browser tracking, LSO's work in every flash-enabled application
- the Flash company doesn't provide a user-friendly way to manage LSO's, In fact it's incredible cumbersome.
- many domains and tracking companies make extensive use of Flash-cookies.
This kind of cookies is not harmless.
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