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Zombie cookies

The SafariCookies control panel

I have been carefully watching, and manually managing, my browser cookies for quite some time. It’s quite a lot of trouble. And it’s also disturbing. Most disturbing is that I’ve found that cookies have been regenerating, even though I never visited the site that the cookies belong to. I’ve also found that Flash cookies keep reappearing even though I went to Adobe’s web site and, supposedly, configured Flash on my computer not to use local storage.

What’s going on? I’m not sure. We do know about the existence of “zombie cookies,” because several evil Internet companies have been sued by privacy advocates because of them. Zombie cookies come back after you delete them because they’ve stored copies of themselves somewhere else — usually Flash storage. We also know about Samy Kamkar’s “Evercookie” and the new tools available to evil web sites in HTML5.

I recently downloaded and installed two Safari plug-ins that are a must-have for Safari users on Macintoshes. The first is SafariCookies, which makes it much easier to monitor and manage your cookies, including Flash cookies. The second is Safari AdBlocker. Both are free.

After I installed SafariCookies, I found that I still had more than a thousand Flash cookies and Flash “databases,” even though I thought I had locked down Flash and deleted all the Flash cookies from my file system. I don’t know where this stuff was being stored in my file system, but I had SafariCookies remove them.

If you are using other browsers on Windows, I don’t have any recommendations for you at present. But I’d recommend that you do some research to find what’s available.

Privacy advocates take the position that it is illegal for Internet sites to defeat your efforts to refuse and delete cookies. After all, your computer belongs to you. But corporate America has declared war on Internet users. Their intent is to make the Internet into a place where they can make money any way they can, while strangling any use of the Internet that isn’t about making money for corporations. To keep the upper hand, corporations are using both technological development (as in HTML5) and the usual political dealing and payola (as in their attempts to strong-arm the FCC and buy off the Congress to defeat net neutrality).

For some background on this, see my new category “Internet privacy” over to the right.


  1. Quetal wrote:

    How would I activate Safari Cookies and Adblocker after downloading?

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 12:15 am | Permalink
  2. Quetal wrote:

    Surprised me, I figured it out. Thanks for the heads-up.

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 12:24 am | Permalink

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