It's not some half-baked conspiracy theory whipped up by a TV demagogue, but the Obama Administration is planning changes that could impact the privacy of everyone who visits US Government Web sites.
[ Also on InfoWorld: "Does Obama want to tap your computer?" and "The Obama plan to own your PC, part deux" | Stay up to date on Robert X. Cringely's musings and observations with InfoWorld's Notes from the Underground newsletter. ]
The OMB wants to use three kinds of cookies: single-session cookies that don't maintain tracking data; multisession cookies that gather anonymous data for use in Web analytics; and multisession cookies "for use as persistent identifiers, which track users over multiple visits with the intent of remembering data, settings, or preferences unique to that visitor for purposes beyond what is needed for web analytics."
It's that last category of cookie that isn't going down so well with folks at the ACLU, which released a blistering attack on the proposed changes. Per 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 web site. Until the OMB answers the multitude of questions surrounding this policy shift, we will continue to raise our strenuous objections.
(Thus putting a lot of folks in the "Obama wants to take over the planet and eat your children" camp in the uncomfortable position of agreeing with the ACLU.)