NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Government Agencies Using "Cookies"

October 23, 2000

Despite a White House prohibition, some government agencies are secretly using technology that tracks the browsing of people visiting their web sites, according to a report from the General Accounting Office.

  • "Cookies" record Internet visitors browsing habits, but agencies are not supposed to use them without the agency head's approval.
  • In at least one case the agency provided the information to a private company.
  • According to the GAO, the U. S. Forest Service sent the information to a private company that compiles reports for the agency.

The other agencies using "cookies" include the Federal Aviation Administration, Customs Service, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Bureau of Land Management, Central Federal Lands Highway Division, the Energy Department's Ames Laboratory, National Park Service, Office of Personnel Management, U.S. Trade and Development Agency, and Health Care Financing Administration, which runs Medicare.

Source: Paul Leavitt, "GAO Finds Government Agencies Are Using 'Cookies'" USA Today, October 23, 2000


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