Print 128 comment(s) - last by .. on Aug 24 at 6:29 AM

  (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."

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Showing their true colors
By Nfarce on 8/12/2009 5:21:58 PM , Rating: 5
It's kind of pathetic to turn a thing like losing personal privacy to the government into an excuse to say, "I told you so" about Obama. Because Bush was HORRIBLE for personal privacy. The government for the last 20 years has been increasingly bad.

I certainly don't disagree with that, but Bush's "illegal" wiretapping was overseas to US calls from nations that either support or are suspect in supporting terrorism. In fact, the Obama administration has decided to keep that same program in place. Team-O on the campaign trail last year said "no more illegal wiretapping."

Second and more to the point, a lot of the people who were all up in arms over the Bush administration's privacy invasions sure haven't raised a fuss on either of these projects. One can only assume it's because their guy is in office now. Come to think of it, I don't hear them whining about the out of control deficit spending either lately that has nearly doubled in a mere 7 months.

Either way, I think both Democrats and Republicans are failing this nation. Period.

RE: Showing their true colors
By adiposity on 8/12/2009 7:17:51 PM , Rating: 3
"Illegal" wiretapping is something else than admitting you are doing it. I almost prefer the former, though, at least then you acknowledge it isn't above board.

This is not "illegal" wiretapping, of course. I am still against it, but tracking is not wiretapping, per se.

You have to understand that "illegal" wiretapping means, "doing what the law says you can't do." If you change the law (e.g., PATRIOT act), it's not illegal. Either way I'm against it, but proposing to change the law and just ignoring it are very different things.

Again, not sure which is worse, admitting you are changing the law and setting a precedent that it is ok, or secretly ignoring the law and setting precedent that it is wrong.


RE: Showing their true colors
By knutjb on 8/12/2009 10:41:17 PM , Rating: 4
Let me clear this once more. The Patriot Act STILL requires a warrant if ANY call was placed or received inside the US. It allows them to listen until they receive it within a short, specific, period of time. If they listened and found something, they must have a warrant to go to court, period.

One other major item that keeps the Patriot Act in a different league than what Obama is doing is that the Patriot Act MUST be renewed every 5 years by Congress. This enables refining of or removal of some or all pieces of the legislation based on legal and performance issues.

With so many foreign communications passing through the US it would be foolish to ignore them. These rules are very specific in their implementation and ALL errors have to be reported to Congress, as they have been.

The Federal Government has slowly crept into our lives via our computers. Government MUST get LEGAL permission through a warrant for ANY domestic surveillance of any kind. Computers, like our phones must be protected with warrants, no matter how easy it is to eves drop and down load it's information. As far as I'm concerned, if they know it IS an foreign national trying to access a site, open season just like the phone calls. Just like the phone calls, it must be reported to Congress. You know that balance of power thing.

Just because a US citizen accesses a Gov website, doesn't mean the Government has the right to download their entire contents.

For those who voted for "Change" are you getting what you expected? I didn't vote for him so I can't answer that, but I am curious. I'm not asking to be facetious.

RE: Showing their true colors
By adiposity on 8/13/2009 12:52:39 PM , Rating: 2
Let me clear this once more. The Patriot Act STILL requires a warrant if ANY call was placed or received inside the US. It allows them to listen until they receive it within a short, specific, period of time. If they listened and found something, they must have a warrant to go to court, period.

Yes, the PATRIOT act does require this. However, the NSA surveillance program ("terrorist surveillance program"), warrants are not required. All that is required is that the NSA believe that one end of the conversation be outside the US. It doesn't actually have to be outside the US, the NSA just has to "think" it is! Add to that, the calls could go to Canada and qualify.

Now, if the belief of the NSA is all that is required to completely bypass wiretap laws and even the much more limited requirements of the PATRIOT act (which only requires a warrant, not a wiretap order), it basically means they can wiretap anyone.

Can they use the wiretap in court? Well, probably not. But is that all we care about?


RE: Showing their true colors
By Nfarce on 8/13/2009 10:47:36 AM , Rating: 2
This is not "illegal" wiretapping, of course. I am still against it, but tracking is not wiretapping, per se.

You do realize that I used the " marks in reference to the mindless masses who like to scream illegal at the drop of a hat with everything I hope - at least during the previous administration anyway.

RE: Showing their true colors
By adiposity on 8/13/2009 12:57:04 PM , Rating: 2
I thought you might have referred to the "terrorist surveillance program," which as far as I am concerned is both "illegal" and illegal. No law allowed for it, but the NSA did it anyway. They completely bypassed wiretapping laws and the warrant requirements of the PATRIOT act.

Now, you can argue whether it's a good idea, of course. But legal? Not really.


"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

Most Popular Articles5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
No More Turtlenecks - Try Snakables
September 19, 2016, 7:44 AM
ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment in Children: Problem or Paranoia?
September 19, 2016, 5:30 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM
Automaker Porsche may expand range of Panamera Coupe design.
September 18, 2016, 11:00 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki