Government-Issue Cookies

An item in the news, making its way around the web, is the EFF’s demands of the White House regarding the use of “cookies” on the whitehouse.gov website, in contravention of longstanding tradition. I know that government websites, as a rule, aren’t supposed to make use of cookies, which can be used to track visitors without their knowledge or consent. I mean, it’s come up in the past, so I was dimly aware of the fact, but don’t really give it much thought.

Apparently, neither do a lot of government webmasters:


A six-month, and a two-year persistent cookie at the FBI’s website? Just to track where their visitors are coming from? Tsk, tsk.

Another two-year persistent cookie, this time from the fine folks at the Navy? Huh.

The United States Postal Service would like to keep track of your browsing habits for the next ten years, which makes the FBI’s cookies positively benign by comparison. But wait…

Come on down, General Services Administration! You’re today’s winner on which-government-agency-has-the-longest-lived-persistent-cookies, with a chocolate-chip beauty good for twenty years. If that’s not leading by example, I don’t know what is.

So, um, Electronic Frontier Foundation? You might want to broaden the scope of your scolding just a wee bit, methinks. The White House are far from the only folks with flour on their clothes in the big government cookie bakery…

Published in: Geekiness, General, Security | on January 28th, 2009| 1 Comment »

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One Comment

  1. On 1/28/2009 at 10:45 pm Glass Said:

    ah-HA! Very interesting and odd.