Thursday, December 29, 2005

NSA Handed Out Cookies to Visitors

Just last week, I revealed that the once-secretive NSA has a website that included a kids section with puzzles and other diversions for budding spies. Now, it turns out the gamesmanship ran deeper than previously known. The AP reports that the NSA was handing out cookies to visitors:
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 files of that type.
The files, known as cookies, disappeared after a privacy activist complained and The Associated Press made inquiries this week. Agency officials acknowledged yesterday that they had made a mistake.
Website cookies hardly top the paranoia charts these days, but then who knows?
"Considering the surveillance power the N.S.A. 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. "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."
Until Tuesday, the N.S.A. site created two cookie files that do not expire until 2035.

In other words, these cookies have the shelf life of your average Christmas fruitcake.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You must be pretty stupid since all websites with a webmaster with a brain uses cookies. If it troubles your democrat left wing stupidness, just turn cookies off in your browser.

5:21 PM, December 31, 2005  
Blogger Tom Noyes said...

Hey I know what cookies are already. The point of the story, if you read it slowly and carefully, is that the NSA, perhaps unwittingly, violated federal government policy that prohibits placing permanent cookies on the computers of those visiting government websites.

And if you read the post, even more slowly and more carefully, ("cookies hardly top the paranoia charts," "the shelf life of your average fruitcake") you might get the sense that I don't take the story all that seriously. But they say irony is a lost art in politics.

Even so, thanks for stopping by.

10:13 PM, December 31, 2005  

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