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  (Source: Puppet Government)
Government could reap a wealth of information from its citizens

Every day millions across the country navigate to government webpages, to read pertinent information. Since 2000 that access has been safeguarded, thanks to a prohibition on government websites using cookies or other tracking technology to track users.  Agency exceptions could only be granted under cases of "compelling need".

Now the Obama administration is looking to overturn that prohibition and potentially begin harvesting a wealth of data on its citizen's activities.  Under the plan, the prohibition would be replaced with a set of privacy provisions.  Aides say that it would increase government transparency and "increase public involvement".

The measure, though, has many opponents.  The American Civil Liberties Union spokesman Michael Macleod-Ball commented that the measure would "allow the mass collection of personal information of every user of a federal government website."

Other opponents dislike that the government may be looking to revoke the protections at the request of search-engine giant Google and other parties.  The Electronic Privacy Information Center and Electronic Frontier Foundation, both of which oppose the measure, pointed to a February 19 contract with Google and an unnamed federal agency over an exemption to use the YouTube player.

EPIC retrieved the proposed changes, negotiated by the General Services Administration, through a Freedom of Information Act request and says they "expressly waive those rules or guidelines as they may apply to Google."  States EPIC Executive Director Marc Rotenberg, "Our primary concern is that the GSA has failed to protect the privacy rights of U.S. citizens.  The expectation is they should be complying with the government regulations, not that the government should change its regulations to accommodate these companies."

Currently, government content is banned from having tracking cookies, but third-party content, such as YouTube videos on federal websites may have tracking cookies.  Google spokeswoman Christine Chen declined to discuss the new rules, but thanked the government for its use of YouTube, stating, "[The use of YouTube] is just one example of how government and citizens communicate more effectively online, and we are proud of having worked closely with the White House to provide privacy protections for users."

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RE: Showing their true colors
By rs1 on 8/12/2009 3:58:16 PM , Rating: 3
Well then the case becomes even easier. If I were making a website, then I would most definitely instrument it with some form of tracking/analytics software, because it's just idiotic to have a website and then have no visibility into who's visiting it, how they are using it, what flows they are interacting with, how many return visits I get, the average time on site, and so on and so forth. In fact, it seems distinctly possible that the lack of such information is part of the reason why most government websites are currently a barely usable mess.

Regardless, I would suggest that no sane web developer would really prefer to be without any sort of analytics support, and that if government websites really are "property of the people" then we should defer judgement to those people who actually are web developers. As such, it become a foregone conclusion that analytics makes perfect sense on government websites, and the topic is still a non-issue. Either the government owns them, and can operate them however it wants, or the people do and they should be operated in a way that's consistent with how any reasonably tech-savvy individual would operate their own website. Either way you end up with tracking/analytics.

RE: Showing their true colors
By MadMan007 on 8/12/2009 5:50:39 PM , Rating: 3
Then all the information and every single way in which it's used, cited, or shared must be made public as well. Then 'we the people' as the owners would be in the same position a tech-savvy web developer would have control over his analytics.

RE: Showing their true colors
By SiliconDoc on 8/13/2009 9:19:03 AM , Rating: 3
And there of course is the "catch". There isn't a chance in H E doubletoothpicks the government will make the data public, nor tell us how they use it, nor any of that.
We will instead get a " What? You don't trust us ??!!? We use this to "provide cradle to grave services for all!"!
:-) In a loving and caring manner, of course. You are FAMILY.
[ then the repubs or dems will accuse eachother quite legitimately of misuing the info - with valid evidence - against of course whichever party is in charge at the moment - at which point the leading party of the moment will deny everything, until they switch places and it reverses. ]
" You must be an insane nutjob to think anything else ! Maybe you need some social worker counseling, or medication! We can help you with that! "
Then the party out of power, accesses the "government data" and uses it to their benefit as well - re-election, redirection of another tenth of the economy, social control and manipulation, population databases, TAKEOVER of the coming census by the Executive Branch, manipulating voting districts for consolidation and party control (making deals between the parties for such) etc...
Of course, it's ALWAYS "nothing to be concerned about".
Funny how the one person said " you make it sound like it's all encompassing" - but we all know that nowadays, once a PRECEDENT is established at a single .gov website, with the modern communication at lightning speed - EVERY *.gov website will immediately "have the right" to do the same, and MORE. (as the case goes, that MORE is "improvements" to "implementation").
When they all scream we will be newly open and transparent as everyone knows this secrecy is terrbile, and then NONE of them are, you really have to be an idiot to buy a word from their pieholes anymore.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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