WH considers lifting cookie curb

President Barack Obama’s White House is considering lifting a decade-old policy which has sharply limited the use of "cookies" to track visitors to federal web sites.

On Monday, the Office of Management and Budget published an official notice in the Federal Register seeking comment on proposals to use cookies more widely. They were largely banned in 2000 by then-OMB director Jack Lew (who is now a deputy secretary of state). While seen at that time as a threat to privacy they have now become ubiquitous on commercial websites, since they allow users to set individualized preferences and advertisers to track what ads users have seen.

The Obama White House got in a bit of hot water with some privacy groups earlier this year for allowing Youtube and other third party vendors to place cookies on users computers. Some of what people objected to was later modified to reduce the privacy concerns.

Comments on what a new policy should say are being accepted through August 10. Details of how to comment are here.

 

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