Zombie Cookies Tracking Your Every Move on the Internet, Consumer Reports Urges Consumers to Contact Congress

A few months ago we wrote about the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed “Do Not Track” list and legislation. One of the biggest invaders of your privacy is cookies that track you, and that respawn after you (think you) have deleted them, or, as they are known, “Zombie Cookies” (so-called because they come back from the dead). As defined in Wikipedia, “a zombie cookie is any HTTP cookie that is recreated after deletion from backups stored outside the web browser’s dedicated cookie storage.” Variations on this theme include the Adobe Local Shared Object (LSO) cookie, and the Evercookie. There was a Zombie cookie law suit last summer, levelled against such industry giants as ABC, NBC, MTV, ESPN, MySpace, and Hulu, alleging that they were using Zombie cookies that respawned after being deleted because their backups were being stored in Flash. That technology was provided by Quantcast, who was the lead defendant in the Zombie cookie lawsuit. Not long after, the FTC announced their “Do Not Track” legislation proposal, and now Consumer Reports is asking their members to contact their Congressmen in support of the proposal.

Your Unique Browser Fingerprint Identifies You Even with Cookies Turned Off

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has just released the results of research which indicate that your browser creates a unique “browser fingerprint” which can be uniquely linked to you, thus creating a record of your browsing habits and where you’ve been on the Internet with your browser, even if you have cookies turned off in your browser. In fact, says the report, this non-cookie method for identifying users using their browser fingerprint with such browsers as IE and Firefox is effective as much as 94% of the time.