Adobe is aiming to make Flash safer for users, in part by blocking questionable website-tracking practices.
The company on Thursday released Flash Player version 10.3, which now enables users to wipe the data stored by Flash from within the browser. That capability is designed to help people block the use of persistent Flash cookies–also known as Local Shared Objects (LSOs)–which some advertisers use to surreptitiously track every website that a user visits, regardless of their cookie or cache settings.
The new plug-in-wiping feature is facilitated by an API known as NPAPI:ClearSiteData. “This new API allows the browsers to communicate a user’s desire to wipe user data stored by installed browser plug-ins. Now, when users go into their browser settings to clear their browser history or clear their cookies, they will be able to clear both their browser data as well as their plug-in data,” according to a blog post from Adobe.
Any browser plug-in can use the new API, though Flash is the first to do so. For open source browsers, the functionality is currently only available for Chrome developers, but Adobe said “we expect to have official support across all open source browsers in the near future.” Meanwhile, Adobe also worked with Microsoft to develop an equivalent capability–now live–for Internet Explorer 8 and 9.