Friday, April 15, 2005

Flash Cookies

Most of us are aware of the textual cookies that can reside on your computer. You can easily delete these all of the cookies, or just those from websites you don't want. Now, however, there is the possibility of cookies created using Macromedia's Flash. Most of us have downloaded the Flash player, but I don't think many of us are aware of the tracking that is possible. You can change this behavior on a site-by-site bases:
  • Right click on a Flash application (e.g., movie).
  • Choose Settings.
  • Click on Local Storage (the file folder). You can set how much information from this server can be stored on your computer. You could set it at zero and also choose "Never Ask Again." This stops any application from this particular server from saving any information to your computer.
This method comes from a Web4Lib post by George Porter. If anyone knows of a way to set this globally, I'd be interested.


John Dowdell said...

Yes, you can set local storage permissions globally. When you're in that "Settings" panel for the Macromedia Flash Player, click the "?" Help icon to bring you to the website with full info and controls.

Or you can go to the link directly, too, if you'd prefer to paste an URL:

(That small Settings Panel can usually fit inside the area of a Flash file on a web page, but the large global settings & documentation wouldn't. That's why it calls up a webpage interface from the Macromedia site. All your preferences are stored on your own machine, however -- they remain private.)

For ongoing info, try searching the Macromedia news aggregator with term "cookie":

John Dowdell
Macromedia support

Christine Peterson said...

Thanks for finding us and letting us know about this functionality.

Although I'm glad we have the ability to turn it off, I'm leary about doing it globally -- for the same reason I don't globally disallow text cookies -- some cookies help me log in to specific sites. I don't know whether I'll ever need this Flash functionality to get to a site I need, so I hesitate turning it off for everyone.