HTML5 local storage could track your surfing habits

By Mike
Sep 23, 2010
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  1. Web surfers generally applaud the changes coming down the pike with HTML5, but last week Wired reported on a potentially unpleasant privacy loophole on mobile phones involving the format's local storage, a feature originally designed to allow offline browsing and faster refreshing of common pages. A lawsuit has followed against Ringleader Digital, an online data collection and advertising firm, alleging that the company is using the feature to create "pseudo-cookies" that are stored locally and can track browsing history. They are not removable using standard cookie cleanup methods and are ...

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  2. In the PrivacyChoice Index of Tracking Companies, we show when we've seen an ad network use html5 local storage.

    To contribute a report of this practice, let us know at
  3. Flannelwarrior

    Flannelwarrior TS Rookie Posts: 131

    Looks like Apple wants to take a page out of Google's book, and could you blame them? :p
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,156   +598

    Google for LSO Flash Cookies and you'll see one approach.

    For the Firefox browser, google BetterPrivacy extension
  5. And this is different from Flash Cookies how?

    Currently the only 100% method of deleting Flash Cookies, is to:
    ~ be a Linux or Unix user; (Can you do this with Mac OS X?)
    ~ using a browser that does not put tracking stuff in other places that you can not control (Firefox is one, not Google Chrome or Internet Explorer, fyi there are over 100+ other browsers);
    ~ use a soft link and redirect the Flash Cookies to /tmp (gets deleted when you reboot and/or turn off your Linux PC), (i.e. ln -s /tmp/linfl ./.macromedia and ln -s /tmp/linfl ./.adobe )

    Still in that situation the Flash cookies are there tracking your surfing between reboots. Here is the link on how to do this with Linux, (/tmp is mentioned in the comments and worked great for me.):

    So for HTML5 we will be required to determine where they put any "spy-ware-cookies-flash-or-html5" and delete them as well. What else is new.

    Just say "No" to "security through obscurity" and/or "false senses of security" by tools that say they delete things (flash cookies) but do not delete them 100%!
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,156   +598

    awe gee; sadly, as you know, Windows is not Linux. Yea symlinks (or hardlinks) allow some need stuff for sure.

    The point is, GIVEN a specific system,
    • is the user aware of cookies
    • or where they ARE stored
    so that they may be managed on that system.

    An F18a is faster than a Piper Cub too, but that's not germane is it?

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