Media Companies, Quantcast Face Privacy Lawsuit About Flash Cookies
A group of Web users have sued Quantcast, ABC, MySpace, ESPN, Hulu, JibJab Media, MTV, NBC Universal and Scribd about the use of Flash cookies.
In a 119-page complaint filed in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California, the Web users allege that the use of Flash cookies violated federal privacy laws as well as California state laws. The consumers allege that the companies used Flash cookies -- which are harder to delete than HTTP cookies -- to circumvent their privacy preferences.
"The objective of this scheme was the online harvesting of consumers' personal information for Defendants' use in online marketing activities," states the complaint.
The lawsuit draws on a report by U.C. Berkeley researchers who found that 54 of the top 100 sites set Flash cookies, while 31 of them stored similar information on Flash cookies as on HTTP cookies. Researchers said that even when users deleted their HTTP cookies, information on the Flash cookies could be used to reconstruct the HTTP cookies, "thus subverting the user's attempt to prevent tracking." --Wendy Davis