.... an unfair or deceptive practice. According to respresentative Barton, 'supercookies' should be "outlawed."
In a joint statement Barton and Markey declare: "We believe the usage of supercookies takes away consumer control over their own personal information, presents a greater opportunity for the misuse of personal information, and provides another way for consumers to be tracked online."
Some consumers have long tried to avoid online tracking by deleting their HTTP cookies. But the new "supercookie" techniques rely on storing information in files that aren't erased when users delete their HTTP cookies.
For instance, analytics company KISSmetrics stored data about users in ETags, which reside in the browser cache and can be used to respawn deleted HTTP cookies. Until KISSmetrics revised its practices in August, the only way of avoiding ETag tracking was by deleting the browser cache or installing a program called AdBlock.
Flash cookies, which are stored in a different place in the browser than HTTP cookies, are an older form of supercookies.
Quantcast, Clearspring and Say Media's Video Egg recently paid a total of $3.4 million to settle privacy lawsuits stemming from their alleged use of Flash cookies.
Since when Adobe has made it easier for surfers to delete Flash cookies.
FTC officials have previously criticized the use of Flash cookies, but the commission has never brought an enforcement action regarding supercookies.
It's not clear whether courts or regulators would rule that using a hard-to-delete tracking technology is illegal.
But according to Justin Brookman, director of the Center for Democracy & Technology's Consumer Privacy Project, there is a good argument that tracking people by methods other than traditional cookies is a deceptive and unfair practice. "Using another means to track just seems like a means to evade user choice," he stold Online Media Daily.