"C" is for cookie

“C” is for cookie, it's good enough for me
Oh cookie, cookie, cookie, starts with “C”


NEW YORK – The National Security Agency's Internet site has been placing files on visitors' computers that can track their Web surfing activity despite strict federal rules banning most of them.

These files, known as “cookies,” disappeared after a privacy activist complained and The Associated Press made inquiries this week, and agency officials acknowledged Wednesday they had made a mistake. Nonetheless, the issue raises questions about privacy at a spy agency already on the defensive amid reports of a secretive eavesdropping program in the United States.

“Considering the surveillance power the NSA has, cookies are not exactly a major concern,” said Ari Schwartz, associate director at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a privacy advocacy group in Washington, D.C. “But it does show a general lack of understanding about privacy rules when they are not even following the government's very basic rules for Web privacy.”

Now, in all fairness, there's really no reason to see any kind of conspiracy here, especially given the government's usual IT ineptitude. It probably was a simple case of failing to change the default setting for the web software – there's not much useful information they could garner even from persistent cookies, and they disabled it as soon as it was pointed out.

It's only notable because it comes from an agency that's already in the crosshairs for much more serious privacy breaches. Plus, I got to use the cookie monster song.


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