Flash Cookies / Website Storage

If you’ve been online at all in the last decade, you’ve heard of the “dangers” of HTTP Cookies. More nefarious and harder to remove are Flash Cookies as they are handled by a plugin/extension/addon to the browser and exist outside of the normal security settings.

To see or delete Flash data, you’ve got to visit the following URL:
http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager07.html

You will probably be suprised to see many of the sites listed, as Flash is often being used to present you with ads in addition to the interactive elements that you might expect.

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NOTE: this is an obsolete practice, and should be removed unless you plan to support beta versions of MSIE6.

The story behind this tag is one of virtue. Microsoft, as they do TOO often, added a ‘feature’ in beta versions of Windows XP (MSIE 6.0) that enabled the browser itself to analyze the content on a given page, and insert links to other websites. This was "e;spun" as being good the the visitors of your website, because they could be exposed to related products or services. Unfortunately, the webmaster and site owners had no say in what content was being linked or to where… which could be a competitor!

This tag was added as a method to prevent these "Smart Tags" from operating on websites… in the end, Microsoft did not leave this feature (enabled?) in the released version of Internet Explorer 6!

BTW, there are some JavaScript libraries today that offer similar functionality, but they are not related to this tag.

Implementation:
Add the following to the <head> section of your webpage(s):
<meta name="MSSmartTagsPreventParsing" content="TRUE" />

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