White House online privacy policy exempts YouTube

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YouTube places cookies on users' browsersTechnology bloggers are raising questions about whether the White House is adhering to privacy rules that prohibit federal agencies from using cookies on their websites.

Chris Soghoian writes on CNET.com that the privacy policy listed on the White House’s website states that YouTube has been exempted from the ban on "persistent cookies."

"The persistent cookie is used by YouTube to help maintain the integrity of video statistics," according to a message on the site.

These long-term tracking cookies are issued by a website to a user’s browser, where they are stored. Cookies allow websites to identify users and track their video viewing habits.

Soghoian points out that the White House offers users an opportunity to avoid having a cookie issued to their browser by providing a link to download the file.

However, several tests carried out by Soghoian indicated that cookies were being issued as soon as he landed on the page, regardless of whether he pressed the "play" button.

This raises several questions about how federal agencies can comply with the rules and protect their users’ privacy while simultaneously employing web 2.0 content such as YouTube videos, he says.
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Personal Liberty News Desk

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