IDG News Service - A potential change in the U.S. government's policy that would permit the broad use of Web cookies on government sites could "allow the mass collection of personal information," according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
A spokesman with the White House Office of Science and Technology wasn't immediately available for comment on the ACLU concerns.
The ACLU isn't necessarily opposed to the U.S. government using cookies in some circumstances, but there need to be strong privacy safeguards in place, said Michael Macleod-Ball, acting director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office.
"We'll have to put some very shielded boxes around the information that's being collected, retained and used," he said.
The Kundra and Fitzpatrick blog post also said the government shouldn't discriminate against Web surfers who opt out of government cookies. But Macleod-Ball suggested that the government should get opt-in permission before it assigns tracking cookies to visitors of government Web sites.
"I don't think the opt-out thing works for us in a government context," he said.
Many private Web sites allow users to opt out of tracking technologies, but few get opt-in permission before issuing tracking cookies.
While Macleod-Ball said he wasn't opposed to the government's use of some cookies, several people posting comments on OSTP's blog said they were opposed to the government collecting personal data.
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