Deleting “Flash Cookies” Made Easier

May 3rd, 2011

If you follow Web Privacy issues, you’ve probably heard about “Flash Cookies.” In the same manner that Web developers can use HTTP Cookies to store data, developers who use Adobe Flash Player on their Web site can use Flash Cookies to store data.

Internet Explorer users are accustomed to deleting their cookies via Delete Browsing History. However, because Flash is an add-on and not part of standard HTML content, browsers have not been able to delete Flash cookies the same way they delete HTTP cookies. When we released IE8, we added APIs (links here and here) for Internet Explorer so that add-ons such as Flash can respond to Delete Browsing History and InPrivate Browsing, allowing consumers to delete Flash cookies along with other data in browsing history.

Adobe recently announced that Flash Player 10.3 integrates with Delete Browsing History. This means that when you delete your cookies with Delete Browsing History, Flash Player will automatically clear your Flash cookies as well. We applaud the change. It resolves a longstanding privacy issue.

We’ve created a Test Drive demo page that you can use to test this out. Note that you’ll need to download Adobe Flash Player 10.3 Release Candidate and use it with either IE8 or IE9 to try this out.

—Andy Zeigler, Program Manager, Internet Explorer