Adobe gives users more control over Flash cookies

Adobe’s moved to improve the privacy settings for Flash cookies – or local shared objects (LSOs), as it prefers to call them.

More aware users have been grumbling for some time about the way websites are using cookies to track user behavior and target ads accordingly – and that the complicated privacy settings of Flash have made it easier for them to do so.

Senior product manager for Flash Player Emmy Huang says on a company blog that Adobe has been collaborating with browser vendors to integrate the management of Flash cookies with the browser user interface.

“The first capability, one that we believe will have the greatest immediate impact, is to allow users to clear LSOs (and any local storage, such as that of HTML5 and other plugin technologies) from the browser settings interface — similar to how users can clear their browser cookies today,” she says.

Adobe’s been working with Mozilla and Google to define a new browser API, called NPAPI ClearSiteData, for clearing local data. This has now been completed, and will be incorporated directly into Firefox and Chrome. There’s no word on whether Microsoft and Apple have any plans to add it to Internet Explorer or Safari.

“Any browser that implements the API will be able to clear local storage for any plugin that also implements the API,” says Huang.

The feature should start showing up soon at the Google Chrome dev channel.

The company’s also promising improvements to the Flash Player Settings Manager, which it says it knows ‘could be easier to use’. The next release should make it a lot simpler, and will also allow users to access the Settings Manager directly from the Control Panel or System Preferences on Windows, Mac and Linux.