Adobe has announced the release of Flash Player 10.3 for Android, Linux, MacOS, and Windows. The latest stable release of Adobe’s ubiquitous plugin packs a bunch of new features and security enhancements. But its most notable user-facing feature is the ability to clear hitherto hard-to-delete Flash cookies, or local shared objects (LSOs) as they are formally known, from the comfort of the web browser’s privacy settings.
Till now, there was no way of slaying Flash cookies alongside normal web cookies from within the browser’s privacy settings. Although there has been an option for clearing Flash cookies separately, it is far from convenient.
At the heart of this LSO-deletion mechanism is a new browser API. Called NPAPI ClearSiteData and developed by Adobe in conjunction with browser vendors like Google and Mozilla, it also makes it easier to delete locally stored data belonging to all such third-party web apps and plugins that use it.
Flash LSOs have been viewed as a major privacy concern due to their usefulness in tracking online user behavior and the lack of awareness about them.Last year, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz referred to the privacy risk posed by LSOs as “the Flash problem.”
“Flash Player 10.3 enables local storage clearing within browsers’ privacy settings and streamlines the controls of the Flash Player privacy, security and storage settings within the local control panel of desktop OSes,” the company wrote in a blog post.