August 18th, 2009
The Barack Obama administration has announced plans to lift a government ban on tracking visitors to government websites, and potentially, collect their personal data through the use of “cookies” – an effort some suspect may already be in place on White House sites.
A ban on such tracking by the federal government on Internet users has been in place since 2000, however, the White House Office of Management and Budget now wants to lift the ban citing a “compelling need.”
In fact, according to the Electronic Privacy and Information Center, federal agencies have already negotiated agreements and contracts with social networking sites like Google, YouTube, SlideShare, Facebook, AddThis, Blist, Flickr and VIMEO to collect information on visitors for federal web sites. All of these private companies are known to have agreements with federal agencies, but the public has never seen them.
In public comments submitted to the Office of Management and Budget, EPIC notes it has obtained documents that show federal agencies have negotiated these contracts with the private sector in violation of “existing statutory privacy rights.” Those agencies include: Department of Defense, Department of the Treasury, and the National Security Agency.
There are suspicions the White House is already involved.