Obama Rethinks Ban on Tracking Web Visitors

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2009 8:27 AM CDT
Obama Rethinks Ban on Tracking Web Visitors
President-elect Barack Obama is seen on a computer screen delivering his weekly YouTube address.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – Privacy groups are up in arms over a White House proposal to allow tracking technology to be used on government websites, the Washington Post reports. Supporters argue that social networking sites have used cookies and other tracking tools to spectacular effect, but the ACLU says the proposal is a “massive” policy shift that will “allow the mass collection of personal information.”

Other groups believe the administration is acting at the behest of corporate buddies like Google, citing as evidence a February contract in which an unnamed federal agency explicitly waved the privacy rules for Google so that it could embed YouTube videos on its site. “These companies are forcing the government to lower the privacy protections that the government has promised the American people,” said the legal director of one group. (Read more Obama administration stories.)

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