WASHINGTON – The Barack Obama administration has announced plans to lift a government ban on tracking visitors to government websites, and potentially, collect their personal data through the use of "cookies" – an effort some suspect may already be in place on White House sites.
A ban on such tracking by the federal government on Internet users has been in place since 2000, however, the White House Office of Management and Budget now wants to lift the ban citing a "compelling need."
In fact, according to the Electronic Privacy and Information Center, federal agencies have already negotiated agreements and contracts with social networking sites like Google, YouTube, SlideShare, Facebook, AddThis, Blist, Flickr and VIMEO to collect information on visitors for federal web sites. All of these private companies are known to have agreements with federal agencies, but the public has never seen them.
In public comments submitted to the Office of Management and Budget, EPIC notes it has obtained documents that show federal agencies have negotiated these contracts with the private sector in violation of "existing statutory privacy rights." Those agencies include: Department of Defense, Department of the Treasury, and the National Security Agency.
There are suspicions the White House is already involved.
When White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was recently asked by Fox News reporter Major Garrett why Americans who had not signed up to receive any e-mails from the White House, were now receiving e-mails from White House adviser David Axelrod promoting President Obama's health care plan, Gibbs refused to answer the question.
"The Obama administration's favorite book seems to be '1984' by George Orwell," said Brad O’Leary, publisher of The O'Leary Report monthly newsletter and author of "Shut Up, America: The End of Free Speech." "Only they don't see '1984' as a warning, but rather a blueprint for spying on every American who visits a government website – something that has been banned for nearly a decade."
There was a reason for the ban. People need to protest and wake up. This administration is doing so many unprecedented things, it's crazy!