Quantcast settles Flash cookies lawsuit

In 2010, Quantcast and Clearspring agreed to settle class action lawsuits brought against them over their use of Flash cookies. Flash cookies are "Local Storage Objects" stored by Adobe's Flash player plug-in; unaffected by browser privacy settings, they can respawn HTTP cookies after a user finds and deletes them. The lawsuits cited the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Video Privacy Protection Act, and state laws, although it was not clear that the cookies were actually illegal. Under the settlement, Quantcast and Clearspring agreed to pay $2.4 million to research groups studying online privacy and privacy-focused non-profits, and publishers named in the suit, which included Disney subsidiary ABC, MTV, Hulu, JibJab, and Scribd, could be required to provide better functions for opting out. Similar suits were also pending against SAY Media (formerly VideoEgg) and Specific Media. Adobe said that using LSOs to track users is a misuse of its technology.

Tags: Quantcast, Clearspring, flash cookies, tracking, advertising, publishing, lawsuits

Writer: Inside Privacy, Joe Mullin

Publication: Inside Privacy, Gigaom