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Gov to Track Websites Visited?

Published:

There's another story out there that says if you visit the gov. website for Cash for Clunkers a warning pops up and says use of this sight will mean the gov owns your computer and everything on it.... that sounded pretty far out but it was on Glen Beck and he showed a screen shot of it on TV.

Anyway, this from Raw Story, Aug. 11, 2009


White House proposal to track government website users stirs fears

A White House proposal to end a long-standing policy forbidding government websites from tracking users could lead to "the mass collection of personal information of every user of a federal government website," says the ACLU.

Civil liberties groups like the ACLU and the Electronic Privacy Information Center are lining up against a plan, proposed by the Obama administration, to end a policy that has been in place since 2000 preventing government websites from installing tracking cookies on users' computers.

“This is a sea change in government privacy policy,” said Michael Macleod-Ball, Acting Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office, in a statement. “Without explaining this reversal of policy, the [White House Office of Management and Budget] is seeking to allow the mass collection of personal information of every user of a federal government website. Until the OMB answers the multitude of questions surrounding this policy shift, we will continue to raise our strenuous objections.”

Opponents of the proposal point out that tracking cookies can be used not only to keep track of what an individual has done or seen on the website in question, but also to track what other websites that person has visited, and what personal information they have handed over to the website. Thus, it is often possible to identify a computer user based on data stored in tracking cookies.

"It appears that these companies are forcing the government to lower the privacy protections that the government had promised the American people," Cindy Cohn, legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told the Washington Post. "The government should be requiring companies to raise the level of privacy protection if they want government contracts."

According to the Post, the EFF and EPIC are pointing to "an unnamed federal government agency" that signed a contract with Google earlier this year that "carved out an exemption from the ban so that the agency could use Google's YouTube video player."

To many privacy watchdogs, that agreement is the thin end of the wedge that will allow the government to monitor ever more closely people's activities on government websites.

"EPIC strongly favors public access to new media and the government’s innovative use of new technology," the group said in a statement. "At the same time, we think it is unnecessary and shortsighted to allow government agencies to stalk citizens with persistent identifiers."

But supporters of the proposed change to government policy "say social networking and similar services, which often take advantage of the tracking technologies, have transformed how people communicate over the Internet, and Obama's aides say those services can make government more transparent and increase public involvement," the Post reports.

-- Daniel Tencer

http://rawstory.com/blog/2009/08/proposal-to-track-government-website-users/

Entry #105

Comments

1.
konaneComment by konane - August 12, 2009, 10:02 am
Love it when a judge analyzes legality of stuff like this.

"Internet Security - ”Obama's 'Cookies' Breaking the Law

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oHH5ksty4I
2.
TigerAngelComment by TigerAngel - August 12, 2009, 1:59 pm
Thanx konane!!! Today, same story at the Washington Post:
U.S. Web-Tracking Plan Stirs Privacy Fears

By Spencer S. Hsu and Cecilia Kang
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, August 11, 2009



The Obama administration is proposing to scale back a long-standing ban on tracking how people use government Internet sites with "cookies" and other technologies, raising alarms among privacy groups.

A two-week public comment period ended Monday on a proposal by the White House Office of Management and Budget to end a ban on federal Internet sites using such technologies and replace it with other privacy safeguards. The current prohibition, in place since 2000, can be waived if an agency head cites a "compelling need."

Supporters of a change say social networking and similar services, which often take advantage of the tracking technologies, have transformed how people communicate over the Internet, and Obama's aides say those services can make government more transparent and increase public involvement.

article continued here:    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/10/AR2009081002743_pf.html

I'm not buying their " it will make gov more transparent". This is double speak and double think right out of George Orwell's 1984!!!
3.
konaneComment by konane - August 12, 2009, 2:40 pm
@ TigerAngel I'm not buying their " it will make gov more transparent". This is double speak and double think right out of George Orwell's 1984!!!"

Motives are pretty transparent after Czarina asked for names of those opposed to health care.

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