Nearly a year after we discussed the privacy implications of Flash cookies
. Wired covers a study out of UC Berkeley exposing questionable practices
used by many of the Internet's most-visited Web sites (abstract
). The most questionable activity the report exposes is known as "respawning": after a user has deleted browser tracking cookies, some sites will use information in Flash cookies to recreate them. The report names two companies, Clearspring and QuantCast, whose technologies reinstate cookies for other Web sites. "Federal websites have traditionally been banned from using tracking cookies, despite being common around the web — a situation the Obama administration is proposing to change as part of an attempt to modernize government websites. But the debate shouldn't be about allowing browser cookies or not, according Ashkan Soltani, a UC Berkeley graduate student who helped lead the study. 'If users don't want to be tracked and there is a problem with tracking, then we should regulate tracking, not regulate cookies,' Soltani said."