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Cookie This!

While the MSM goes bonkers over the fact that the NSA website installed internet "cookies" on people's computers as they visited the site, the fact is that the NSA site can't hold a candle to the KING of cookies MSNBC. In fact just loading the page in internet explorer loaded over 25 cookies. This doesn't count all the scripts it runs on your system through Active X (kind of an intrustion because it actually installs things on your computer without you being aware of it).



Note that in this screen capture window are "tribal fusion" and "double click" cookies, and other "spyware". Bad MSNBC - very bad.

Now...

"Cookies are widely used at commercial Web sites and can make Internet browsing more convenient by letting sites remember user preferences. For instance, visitors would not have to repeatedly enter passwords at sites that require them.

But privacy advocates complain that cookies can also track Web surfing, even if no personal information is actually collected.

In a 2003 memo, the White House's Office of Management and Budget prohibits federal agencies from using persistent cookies — those that aren't automatically deleted right away — unless there is a "compelling need."

A senior official must sign off on any such use, and an agency that uses them must disclose and detail their use in its privacy policy.

Peter Swire, a Clinton administration official who had drafted an earlier version of the cookie guidelines, said clear notice is a must, and "vague assertions of national security, such as exist in the NSA policy, are not sufficient."

Daniel Brandt, a privacy activist who discovered the NSA cookies, said mistakes happen, "but in any case, it's illegal. The (guideline) doesn't say anything about doing it accidentally."


In a word - Mr. Swire is full of crap. I also worked on Government websites, as well as developing other commercial websites. Fact is that cookies don't automatically "track web habits", they have to be written to do so and most do not (unlike the aforementioned MSNBC spyware). Fact is that none of the cookies found on the NSA website were found to have trafficked 'web surfing habits'. The only 'gig" is that that their programmed expiration date was 2035, which by the way is about the same time most of the some of the MSNBC cookies are set to expire, and again, most of those DO track your web surfing habits.

More at Wizbang.




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