Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Forget Chilling - Try Freezing!

We were perplexed and a bit put out by the Obamistration's Big Brother effort with the tattle-tale email addy.
And were alarmed when this was expanded to an entire website given over to collecting "misinformation."
But this is beyond stunning:
When one surfs the 'net, one invariably picks up these little info gathering pieces of code, which are used for a variety of purposes (some benign, some not so much). The best definition I could find says that cookies are "a piece of text that a Web server can store on a user's hard disk. Cookies allow a Web site to store information on a user's machine and later retrieve it."
As noted above by the ACLU (not exactly a bastion of right-wing ideology), it has long been our gummint's policy to eschew cookies, encouraging citizen participation.
But that was then, and this is now:
"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."
This means, for example, that if you visit that Big Brother site, our most transparent administration ever will be able to see many (perhaps most) of the websites that you've previously visited. And because of in-place regulations, once this data is collected, they are forbidden to destroy it.
Now, one might say that this is no big deal, because there's no way they can match up your "hit" with any personally identifiable information.
And one would be wrong:
How many of us shop online? How many use our real names (or even parts of our real names) in email addresses and when leaving comments? These are easily "picked up" by various cookies, and could potentially become government policy. Before you fit me for a tin-foil hat, do a little research and prove me wrong.
But be convincing.
And, perhaps, be afraid.
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