Deleting “Flash Cookies” Made Easier


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

Comments (11)

  1. Senthil Kumar says:

    A significant move towards better privacy protection for users. Good job Adobe and Microsoft.

  2. Fred says:

    So IE8 did this ahead of "latest stable" Chrome? Wild.

  3. Anonymous says:

    @Fred

    IE8 beta was actually released before the very first version of chrome.

  4. alan says:

    nice job. I IE8 had this already way before the competition. however, someone over at cnet is making it seem as if crome had it first. interesting.

  5. I am impressed :) says:

    Didn't know that add-ons can hook up to the "Delete Browsing History" dialog.

    Excellent idea! Now I don't have to manually go to Adobe's Flash Settings websites just to cleanup my LSO's!

  6. Vilius says:

    Will IE TEMP files cache size usage also be taken into account in Flash 10.3?

  7. Viktor Krammer [Quero] says:

    wow, a big improvement! Congrats!

  8. CWH says:

    What about doing the same for Silverlight isolated storage which can do exactly the same?

  9. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @CWH: Internet Explorer notifies registered add-ons when deleting the browser history (details here: blogs.msdn.com/…/ie8-privacy-apis-for-addons.aspx).

    IE doesn't do anything specific to Flash, and any add-on can participate in the deletion notification. This blog post just notes that the Adobe team has now hooked up support for the notification.

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  11. James says:

    Good start now if you can only do the same for silverlight!