Ad Firm Sued for Allegedly Re-Creating Deleted Cookies
Ryan Singel writes on Wired's Epicenter:
Specificmedia, one of the net’s largest ad-serving and tracking companies, has been hit with a federal lawsuit accusing the company of violating computer intrusion laws by secretly re-creating cookies deleted by users.More here.
The lawsuit [.pdf], filed in California’s Central District federal court last Wednesday, is the third such suit filed this month by privacy attorney Joseph Malley. The first “zombie” cookie suit targeted sites ranging from MTV to Scribd that used technology from a company called Quantcast, while the second suit went after Disney and Demand Media for their use of similar tech from Clearspring Technologies.
At issue is the use of Adobe Flash to keep copies of a user’s browser cookies in order to re-spawn cookies after users clear them. The lawsuits allege that the companies did not explain to users how they were using Flash and that using the storage capabilities of Flash for this purpose violates federal privacy and computer security laws.
The practice first came to light a year ago after privacy researchers at Berkeley produced a report showing that 54 of the top 100 websites used Flash cookies, some of which were used to track users, while others simply set the default volume for streaming videos.