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Government Privacy News Politics

Feds May Soon Be Allowed To Use Cookies 181

fast66 writes "The White House may lift its policy barring federal Web sites from tracking users' online behavior. In place since 2000, the cookie policy issued by the Office of Management and Budget was intended to protect citizen privacy but has sparked criticism — even from White House officials — for hampering citizen outreach. On Friday, Bev Godwin, the director of online resources and interagency development at the White House's new media office, blogged on the White House Web site, 'We want to use cookies for good, not evil' — and invited the public to comment on cookies through various online channels, including the Office of Science and Technology Policy blog."
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Feds May Soon Be Allowed To Use Cookies

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  • No problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by religious freak ( 1005821 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @05:51PM (#28874251)
    If you don't like cookies, block them. For those that don't even understand what a cookie is, make it clear what the government is doing and prove it through open source. Makes for a better web experience.

    What's the problem with that?
  • Re:No problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by religious freak ( 1005821 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @06:34PM (#28874809)
    If you choose to live in a cave, you can't bitch about not having electricity.

    (not trolling just being blunt)
  • Up to date (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BorgCopyeditor ( 590345 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @06:35PM (#28874829)

    The next exciting and up-to-date town-hall meeting discussing government's use of technology will be...Webpage Layout: Tables or CSS?

  • Re:No problem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Falcon4 ( 946292 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @06:46PM (#28874953) Homepage

    Um, I dunno why your tin foil hat is so large, but seriously, you're living in the 90's. There is - and never was - anything wrong at all with Javascript or cookies. Flash can be annoying, but the benefits far outweigh the "risk". Java is the only thing I don't particularly trust, since it's pretty much an open gateway to malware today.

    Javascript, though? Seriously? Javascript is "standard webfare" in the modern world. Cookies are, as well. Every single modern web browser supports them, and enable developers to do some pretty cool things, like draggable maps, real-time page updates (AJAX), etc.

    Put simply, you've got more to worry about in your web history than you'd ever have to worry about in cookies. With cookies, what are you protecting yourself from? A company trying to improve their product? What about Javascript? Protect yourself against... dynamic webpages? You're doing yourself more harm than good with these old principles. Should've left them at the door with Firefox 1.0... welcome to the Internet of the 21st century.

  • Re:No problem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CaptSaltyJack ( 1275472 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @06:58PM (#28875081)

    From the perspective of a web designer/developer who uses Javascript to enhance and optimize the user experience: people like you drive me up a frickin' wall. There's no need to disable all that stuff, unless you have a paranoid personality disorder.

    Look, it just takes some common sense. Don't surf to sites that may be malicious. 99% of the time, it's completely obvious what those sites are. Also, it helps to not use IE, which is more susceptible to attacks than Firefox and other browsers.

    Someone please give me a valid reason why anyone should be blocking cookies (1st party, NOT 3rd party) and disabling Javascript, other than paranoia and/or a bad case of nerd grump.

  • Re:No problem (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Em Emalb ( 452530 ) <> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @07:00PM (#28875103) Homepage Journal

    unless he's using a newfangled club that shouts "I AM A CLUB!" while you wave it in the air and it shoots out orange and yellow flames.

    I wonder if Think Geek sells those? WANT.

  • I love it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by blue l0g1c ( 1007517 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @07:13PM (#28875265)
    Tens of years ago, someone decided to name something a "magic cookie" and now we have FBI agents talking about "cookies" with solemn and serious faces.
  • Re:No problem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by C-Dilla ( 961168 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @07:34PM (#28875475)
    Oh I don't know, he's free to pick up a good old fashioned stick and do whatever he wants with it. He just can't complain if his leg gets bitten off by the sabertooth while his buddies are munching on tasty sabertooth kebabs thanks to their newfangled flame-shooting clubs.
  • Re:No problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @07:35PM (#28875479) Homepage
    Simple. Just do what I do. Let cookies be saved, but only until you close your browser. I do this except for my whitelist where I let it store cookies permanently. This is really easy to set up in Firefox. I also have flash block installed, which is the only plugin I have installed. As far as Javascript goes, I let that run, but there's only so much it can do with cookies disabled, along with a good popup blocker. Never really had much of a problem with Javascript.
  • Re:No problem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @07:41PM (#28875539) Homepage

    The site I'm building now won't bitch if you have cookies off. But if you try to login, you'll find that subsequent requests will be handled as if you have not logged in. If the web ever gets a better login scheme standardized, implemented, and widely deployed, then maybe cookies won't be needed as a half-arsed way to achieve login sessions. Also, if you disabled Javascript, the site will not lay out nicely. But that will fall under the same "degrade gracefully" principle as if you disabled CSS.

  • Re:No problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @07:50PM (#28875611)

    What's the problem with that?

    There is no problem with that, and may be that's the point.

    Let's be really pedantic about cookies, let's waste all our time discussing them, all the while the government (with the help of the private sector) is silently trying to archive, index, and search through all our private emails, private phone conversations, web browsing logs (and search terms), phone graph relationships, travel plans, medical drug and mental health information, dna relationships, and/or anti-war political affiliations.

    And let's not worry about the fact that all the low level city cops (at least in San Francisco) routinely do background checks and get private medical information for any random woman they're interested in dating (without any oversight, without any official reason, and without any logging that they've even accessed that information in the first place).

    Let's talk about cookies instead and let's keep on explaining what cookies mean (because here on slashdot, I'm sure that no one knows what cookies are) -- ignoring all the other ways our privacy is being violated over and over again -- without even us knowing.

  • Re:No problem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @09:21PM (#28876379) Journal

    There you go again, displaying facts and ruining what might have been perfectly good flamebaiting based on suspicion, FUD and paranoia.

    If you want to surf anonymously, it's not that hard.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.