This news surprised most ... but the impact will be far greater than most people are reporting. Omniture (2o7.net) is the largest paid-analytics company (data miners) ... Adobe is the largest (besides it's other products) application (aka Flash) which allows websites to track users via "flash cookies" ...
Now you combine these two giants and ... say good-bye to your privacy. The biggest reason is the way "flash cookies" (local shared objects) are stored and the dubious actions that are allowed on your machine without your knowledge ... did you know that if you delete a cookie via your browser, that it can be recreated from the info stored in a flash cookie? ... Imagine that! You can prevent this action, but it's well hidden ... more on than below.
"Omniture helps clients understand how visitors traffic their Web sites and assists online businesses to target advertisements ...
Adobe, said the deal will help it "transform" e-commerce by combining its content creation tools with Omniture's online measurement and optimization technologies to help "increase the value Adobe delivers to customers."
"This is a game changer for Adobe and its customers," said Shantanu Narayen, chief executive of Adobe, in a statement. "We will enable advertisers, media companies and e-tailers to realize the full value of their digital assets."
The above statement is polite spin for "now we can really tract your movements" and allows websites to sell this info to anyone that wants to purchase it. So how do you protect yourself ... you have to go online ... yes online, Adobe does not allow you to control your flash privacy setting from your machine.
Start here and go thru the various tabs and select the privacy settings that suit your needs. I would suggest unchecking the option for “Allow third-party Flash content to store data on your computer”. Please note these setting only remain until the next Adobe flash update and there has been several just this year. Flash player has been targeted by malicious culprits for it's many vulnerabilities ... you can however retain your preferences by setting the "settings.sol" file to Read Only on your hard drive.
The settings.sol file is located in the following location: (Vista)
\Users\<user name>\AppData\Roaming\Macromedia\Flash Player\macromedia.com\support\flashplayer\sys\
(where "<user name>" is the profile name you are using)
Once located, right-click and select Properties and place a check in the Read only option, click Apply/Ok
There are a few drawbacks to the above ... but I've learned to live with them ... some sites will complain when they are not allowed to store their tracking data on your machine.
Or you may see the following prompt ...
If you find that you really want to view a flash video or the like ... you will need to reset the "settings.sol" then allow the above changes, again via the Adobe online settings manager. Then reset the file back to Read only ... yeah I know it's a pain ... but I only allow a very few sites this access, much like a whiltelist ...
Omniture already has a dubious reputation for it's sneeky actions in the way it sets cookies on your browser, by using aliases to set a 3rd party cookie. Let's say you visit "creditreport.com" you will end up with a cookie from "metrics.creditreport.com" ... but is it really from creditreport.com? No way! it's an alias for "creditreport.com.122.2o7.net" and "metrics.creditreport" is not hosted and their server rather it returns to the IP location for Omniture.
Do you really want these 3rd parties harvesting your information while you are disclosing your credit information ... I certainly do not, especially when they use these sneeky tactics to do it.