Feeds

US lawmakers call for FTC probe of supercookies

Hundreds of sites caught employee secret snoop tech

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Two US lawmakers have called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the use of “supercookies” that secretly log web visitors' browsing histories across multiple sites, even when the users delete browser cookies to elude tracking.

In a letter sent Tuesday to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, the co-chairs of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus Edward Markey and Joe Barton said they believed a probe of supercookies falls within the consumer watchdog's mandate of protecting Americans from unfair and deceptive acts. The letter follows revelations that hundreds of websites, including Microsoft's MSN.com, Hulu.com, Spotify, and GigaOm have deployed sneaky code that reconstructs browsing-history cookies even after users have taken the trouble to delete them.

“We believe this new business practice raises serious privacy concerns and is unacceptable,” the congressmen wrote in their letter (PDF). “We are also very concerned about the extent of this practice by websites as well as the impact supercookies have on consumers. Furthermore, we believe the usage of supercookies takes away consumer control over their own personal information, presents a greater opportunity for the misuse of personal information, and provides another way for consumers to be tracked online.”

The practice of issuing supercookies and zombiecookies is the subject of several lawsuits. In August, Microsoft and several other companies sued for allegedly using them were dismissed because the plaintiff in the case couldn't quantify the monetary damages she suffered. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
APPLE FAILS to ditch class action suit over ebook PRICE-FIX fiasco
Do not pass go, do cough (up to) $840m in damages
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.