When Adobe releases Flash Player 10.1 in the next couple of months, users of
the application will have clearer, easier-to-set privacy options for their
browser cookies. But more user privacy comes at the expense of fraud detection
processes: The upgraded software is likely to disrupt some ecommerce and online
banking sites that rely on cookies as another layer to authenticate their
customers.

The new version of Adobe’s Flash, currently in beta, makes its privacy
settings more prominent and explicit to the user and also supports private
browsing, which lets a user browse without logging his browsing history on his
machines.

Adobe says it added these features due to concerns that some websites were
using Flash’s local storage features to store machine IDs without the user’s
consent or knowledge. For example, even if a user had cleared his cookies, these
sites would keep a backup of them in Flash’s Local Storage so he could restore
the deleted cookies — without the user knowing or realizing it.

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