In Cyberspace You Snoop Citizens, Not Terrorists

The Airplane movies would be proud of this one. It’s wrong to find out why an “ordinary American” who has never been within five thousand miles of America in his entire life, wants to call Osama bin Laden on his satellite phone from Amman or Damascus. But the feds are going to put cookies on your hard drive and follow you around when you open a government website…because you’re not an ordinary American.

The American Civil Liberties Union submitted comments today to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) opposing its recent proposal to reverse current federal policy and allow the use of web tracking technologies, like cookies, on federal government websites. Cookies can be used to track an Internet user’s every click and are often linked across multiple websites; they frequently identify particular people.

Since 2000, it has been the policy of the federal government not to use such technology. But the OMB is now seeking to change that policy and is considering the use of cookies for tracking web visitors across multiple sessions and storing their unique preferences and surfing habits. Though this is a major shift in policy, the announcement of this program consists of only a single page from the federal register that contains almost no detail.

“This is a sea change in government privacy policy,” said Michael Macleod-Ball, Acting Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Without explaining this reversal of policy, the OMB is seeking to allow the mass collection of personal information of every user of a federal government website. Until the OMB answers the multitude of questions surrounding this policy shift, we will continue to raise our strenuous objections.”

But the President isn’t a Republican right now…so this gets a pass.

Can’t help but think of that classic scene where the Sandinistas walk right on through the metal detectors with their machine guns and rocket launchers, while the little old lady is frisked. Life imitates Airplane II.

Dunn was over Unger and I was over Dunn.

Hat tip to Ace, via Hot Air.

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