Privacy Advocates Alarmed – White House Proposes Change to Allow Tracking of US Government Websites

20 August 2009 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Authors: Peter Vogel

Since 2000 the US government websites generally prohibit tracking of visitors except if there is a compelling need, and the White House Office of Management and Budget is considering an end of this ban and make changes to promote social networking. In the future transparent government may mean that visitors to US government websites are being tracked. Two privacy groups Electronic Privacy Information Center  and Electronic Frontier Foundation  are alarmed at the change and sought information under the freedom of information act. They uncovered the fact that in January 2009 the General Services Administration negotiated an exception to the current ban that allowed Google to track those individuals who used the YouTube service on However with all the hubbub this tracking was apparently stopped.
Gov 2.0

Tim O’Reilly coined the term Web 2.0 in 2002 and in a recent report O’Reilly encourages more social networking for the government. Of course he’s not the Lone Ranger on Gov 2.0 as there are plenty of advocates including my good friend Ellis Pines who blogs about Gov 2.0 and encourages the use of GovLoop – a social network for Gov 2.0.

Are We Cybersecure?

Okay so great, Gov 2.0 encourages more social networking. But a recent report that the White House’s senior aide on cybersecurity resigned because she was “not empowered” is alarming since it is clear no one wants to be the Cyber Czar. In the meantime there are never ending reports of widespread Cyberattacks in the world, and hackers apparently have no problems breaching commercial websites.

Enlarging the use of social networking only compounds the problems of cybersecurity, so at this moment none of us should feel so safe. What do you think?





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