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Easier cookie deleting comes to Adobe Flash

Privacy menace finally becomes manageable

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Adobe has released a new version of its ubiquitous Flash Player that finally makes it easier for users to delete the digital breadcrumbs some websites have abused to track users against their wishes.

Flash 10.3 implements an industry-standard known as NPAPI ClearSiteData for deleting so-called LSOs, or local shared objects. Often referred to as Flash cookies, LSOs have been used by many websites to “respawn” cookies users had previously deleted. The practice allowed websites to track visitors even when they took the trouble to erase the breadcrumbs.

Implementation of the new API in Flash means users can delete LSOs using the cookie eraser feature included in recent versions of the Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Microsoft Internet Explorer browsers. Previously, the only way to delete Flash cookies was to use an online settings panel that was confusing for many users.

The new Flash release also introduces a native control panel that makes it easier for users to manage application settings that control preferences for a computer's camera, microphone and LSOs. The panel can now be found in the Control Panel or Systems Preferences panels of the Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems. The new version will also let Mac users upgrade automatically.

Flash 10.3 fixes several important security vulnerabilities. It's available for download here. ®

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