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White House Exempts YouTube From Web Privacy Rules 235

Posted by timothy
from the but-other-than-this-one-thing dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The new White House website privacy policy promises that the site will not use long-term tracking cookies, complying with a decade old rule prohibiting such user tracking by federal agencies. However, Obama's legal team has quietly exempted YouTube from this rule. Visitors to the official White House blog will receive long-term tracking cookies whenever they surf to a web-page with an embedded YouTube video — even those users that do not click the "play" button. As CNET reports, no other company has been singled out and rewarded with such a waiver."
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White House Exempts YouTube From Web Privacy Rules

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  • Considering how many Youtube videos are embedded on webpages other than the youtube.com domain, the tracking potential of this is unsettling. Disclaimer: I did not RTFA.
    • by tixxit (1107127) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @04:36PM (#26565263)
      The article is referring to whitehouse.gov's privacy policy. The only web site this affects is whitehouse.gov and the only users are the visitors to whitehouse.gov.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 22, 2009 @04:36PM (#26565265)
      Why is it disturbing? Do you even understand what the policy is stating? It in no way affects how YouTube/Google have been able to use tracking cookies since day 1. The policy is referring to how the whitehouse.gov domain uses cookies. Since there are YouTube videos embedded on the site, and since the White House domain administrators don't have access to the YouTube cookies that get set, they are exempting them from this policy.
      • by Hatta (162192)

        So why do they need a special exemption? Make it policy that whitehouse.gov will not use tracking cookies. Youtube is not whitehouse.gov so they can use tracking cookies. No special exemptions required.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Firehed (942385)

        From TFS, it sounds like you may get long-term cookies from whitehouse.gov (regardless of what youtube.com provides) on pages (or paths I suppose; I don't think you can do page-specific cookies) containing embedded youtube videos. It could use some additional clarification for sure.

        Naturally, I didn't read TFA either.

      • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @05:49PM (#26566355)
        I said that YouTube was a bad idea early on, because of the discrepancies between YouTube's policies and the policies surrounding government content. You cannot save YouTube videos on your hard drive without violating their TOS. This is another example of the discrepancy. Disturbingly, this administration is not pushing YouTube to modify their policies for the White House channel.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by theaveng (1243528)

          >>>Disturbingly, this administration is not pushing YouTube to modify their policies for the White House channel

          Right now I think the U.S. government and Obama have more important things to worry about than whether or not there's a cookie on my c: drive. Even if whitehouse.gov demanded youtube.com Not install cookies, what's the point? It won't change the fact that I *already* have youtube cookies on my machine.

          ASIDE:

          I was looking at whitehouse.gov with the Wayback machine. Back during Clinton's

        • by anaesthetica (596507) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @07:02PM (#26567505) Homepage Journal

          Disturbingly, this administration is not pushing YouTube to modify their policies for the White House channel.

          FTFA: "In just the past couple weeks, YouTube has launched dedicated pages for both the House and Senate to show off their own videos, and the site also recently started allowing users to directly download copies of some videos. This latter feature has not yet been widely deployed across the site, and is seems to be limited to videos posted by Obama's team."

          So there may in fact be some push from the White House to modify YouTube's policies. We'll see.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Why not cut a deal with google, pay them x per view to disable cookies OR better yet, NOT embed external videos in a proprietary format, when they can host such videos locally and avoid both privacy AND security issues (one 'mistake' at google could rickroll anybody on whitehouse.gov OR a worse one could launch a flash exploit, a change in political winds could also end up with google suggesting anti-obama videos on his own site (like adwords attached to emails)). Somebody from the NSA should have a quick w

  • by DotNM (737979) <`matt' `at' `mattdean.ca'> on Thursday January 22, 2009 @04:29PM (#26565143) Homepage
    ... unless they legislate them to remove those cookies. What alternatives to YouTube could they use?
    • by Rinisari (521266) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @04:37PM (#26565293) Homepage Journal

      They could host the videos themselves, use another site that doesn't use cookies, or use an alternative version of YouTube's creation that would not use cookies.

      There are lots of options, this is simply the easiest.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        use another site that doesn't use cookies

        You're so funny! Can I have some of what you're smoking?
      • by Anonymusing (1450747) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @05:14PM (#26565855)

        They could host the videos themselves

        But why invest in all that bandwidth and hosting when there's a free, available, willing, and WILDLY POPULAR alternative already here? C'mon. If they hosted it themselves, they would RFP it out to the lowest bidder, futz around with technology issues for awhile (does the BBC iPlayer [slashdot.org] ring a bell?), before finally delivering a subpar product that frustrates everyone. I would MUCH rather they used YouTube for their videos, and spent their time and money on things that matter.

        • by Urza9814 (883915) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @05:36PM (#26566165)

          Just wanted to say that I gotta agree with you there. I didn't, but then they got YouTube to add a download option for their videos. You can play them in your browser with fairly standard tech (Even Linux has pretty good flash support now - I know, I use it. It's buggy at times, but YouTube always works fine) and you can download it in MPEG format if it won't play. Works for me.

          • I did not know that this had occurred. Pretty much puts me in the same position: most of my opposition to the use of YouTube centered around the ability to save copies of the videos on my hard drive. Unfortunate that they chose MPEG and not OGG, but I can sooner deal with that than having no option to save copies of government videos.

            /me looks for the retract button for some other posted comments...
            • by Urza9814 (883915)

              Hah, yea, they just added it recently. And by recently I mean I think it was yesterday or the day before.

              And yea, OGG would be nice, but then the majority of the population would probably say 'what the hell is this ogg thing?'. MP4 may not be the best, but it'll play on pretty much any OS, and if it doesn't it's easy enough to find a transcoder for it.

        • "I would MUCH rather they used YouTube for their videos"

          Good for you. I would rather be able to save the videos on my hard drive without violating some corporate website's TOS. Why not just offer a torrent? That would save bandwidth and allow for higher quality video postings, AND people would be able to maintain a local copy if they want to.
          • Youtube added download links for any of the Whitehouse channel videos. Go to http://youtube.com/user/whitehouse [youtube.com] and click on any any of them and on the video specific page there should be a download link below the actual video.
            • Yeah I did not know about that change until...just now. Pretty much solves 95% of the issues I had with their choice of YouTube for these videos; wish they offered non-encumbered formats (OGG, etc.) but that is really a minor issue, especially since it is not even clear whether or not MPEG codecs violate any laws.

              Thanks for the tip!
              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by Briareos (21163) *

                Yeah I did not know about that change until...just now.

                But... change is what Obama promised all along - and now you act surprised? :*P

                np: The Whitest Boy Alive - Done With You (Dreams)

          • by Ironica (124657)

            "I would MUCH rather they used YouTube for their videos"

            Good for you. I would rather be able to save the videos on my hard drive without violating some corporate website's TOS.

            Thanks to a special exemption that the Obama team got from YouTube, you can. (RTFA.)

        • What about the security and privacy aspects, these are non-trivial and much easier to solve by just hosting them locally, using an embedded flash player (hell pay google to make it if you want)

          And what exactly is wrong with the iPlayer everybody i know techs & non-techs consider it a storming success?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          There is a lot of value in having the government provide the repository for official documents.

          Just imagine the complications if the administration takes a position (or wants to post the video of a speech) critical of the company providing hosting services (for free, without a solid contract outlining their obligations).

      • by kabocox (199019) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @05:15PM (#26565865)

        They could host the videos themselves, use another site that doesn't use cookies, or use an alternative version of YouTube's creation that would not use cookies.
        There are lots of options, this is simply the easiest.

        Well, it would cost money for them to replicate YouTube just for government stuff. It's much easier just to use the "free" YouTube service for that. Now if the free service has tracking cookies, well either you decide it wasn't that big of a deal in the first place or stop posting videos. Since everyone seems to really like the videos, and most folks ignore or delete cookies that they don't like; they've decided to live with it.

        That's like complaining that google, slashdot, or wikipedia gave you cookies. I mean come on if you use the internet, you'll get cooties, um cookies.

        • There are a lot of aspiring competitors to YouTube, none of which have been able to get much traction. I'm sure one of them would agree to turn off their cookies for whitehouse.gov content in return for the publicity of being chosen to host whitehouse videos. Google might even agree to turn off cookies in the face of that sort of threat.

        • by suggsjc (726146)

          I mean come on if you use the internet, you'll get cooties, um cookies.

          For my cookie sessions I have firefox Keep until "Ask every time" and 90%+ of the time I choose to allow for session. So, sites that "require cookes" but don't really require them will work just fine. When I close my browser, then cookies that I don't really care about are gone.

          Sure, its a pain at first but once you've got your main sites setup then its not that big of an issue.

      • by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@ g m a i l . c om> on Thursday January 22, 2009 @05:18PM (#26565905) Journal

        No point in reinventing the wheel. YouTube is the thing for videos right now, so why not use it? People who keep sniping about gov't waste should be happy about this stuff.

    • by neokushan (932374) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @04:53PM (#26565531)

      The rule applies to federal agencies. Last I checked, youtube wasn't a federal agency, so it's not really much of a story. Slow news day?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        the reason it's an issue is federal agencies will be posting videos to youtube. Just because they get someone else to do something doesn't mean they're not still responsible for the rules governing it.

        • by beej (82035)

          the reason it's an issue is federal agencies will be posting videos to youtube. Just because they get someone else to do something doesn't mean they're not still responsible for the rules governing it.

          I still don't see the match. Which federal agency is using persistent cookies to track visitors?

          • by Ironica (124657)

            I still don't see the match. Which federal agency is using persistent cookies to track visitors?

            Technically speaking, no Federal agency is using persistent tracking cookies. However, the rule can be broadly interpreted that "no Federal agency's web site may SET such a cookie," and since the video is embedded into the web page, with no inherent option to NOT get the cookie (Flashblock will probably work, but I haven't tested it yet), you browse to a Federal Government website and you get a persistent tracking cookie, which can certainly look like a violation.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by beej (82035)

              Technically speaking, no Federal agency is using persistent tracking cookies. However, the rule can be broadly interpreted that "no Federal agency's web site may SET such a cookie,"

              Now we get more to the guts of it. Which federal agency's web site is setting such a cookie?

              We have to get into some subtle definitions of "web site" and "setting" and "is".

              It probably works something like this:

              1) Your browser gets the html from wh.g

              2) Your browser downloads the flash video player from youtube

              3) Your flash player does cookie stuff with youtube

              So really it's only a suggestion from wh.g that you even download the player.

              We need to keep the People empowered to use or not use their software.

              you browse to a Federal Government website and you get a persistent tracking cookie, which can certainly look like a violation.

              I

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nizo (81281) *

        Folks still need vent about the election and politics in general; we may as well get it over with now.

    • by drDugan (219551)

      ideally: the post the videos in an ogg container, encode it with open standard codecs, and make the full content avilable on bittorrent (also an open standard with open source implementations)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Ash Vince (602485)

        ideally: the post the videos in an ogg container, encode it with open standard codecs, and make the full content avilable on bittorrent (also an open standard with open source implementations)

        Congratulations, you just made the content inaccessible to about 80% of your target market. All of the technologies you list require extra software installed to be able to use. Now while you may think nothing of installing ogg player, bittorrent and everything else for the majority of the population that is just too complicated.

        I have to spend one day per week on frontline telephone support of people doing basic PC training (ECDL & ICDL). Most of these cretins cant even send an email saying what there p

  • Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WPIDalamar (122110) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @04:31PM (#26565165) Homepage

    A cookie to the youtube.com domain? Who cares.

    What exactly are we losing by having this? If you're loading anything from youtube, then youtube could certainly log that fact permanently on their end.

    Why is this news?

  • The U.S. government should have its own video servers, or lease them from YouTube, and not depend on commercial sites. Commercial sites can do anything they want any time they want; they don't have to consider internal government policy.
    • by blueg3 (192743)

      Incidentally, the download links are to MP4 files that are hosted on whitehouse.gov.

    • Very much agree. Putting stuff on YouTube in addition isn't a bad idea for publicity, since a lot of people use it, but embedding it in government websites seems to be asking for trouble, if only from a counting-on-another-business-for-distributing-information aspect. Not to mention essentially promoting the company that owns YouTube. :)

      • by Tanktalus (794810) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @05:00PM (#26565643) Journal

        To me, it kinda works both ways. On one hand, you don't want to be dependant on YouTube. On the other hand, you don't want the government to be able to replace a video with another and claim that it always was this way. "We never said that... see our video?" When it's self-hosted, it's too easy to change. When it's YouTube-hosted, it's easy for YouTube to prove the change (and they may still have the old version, who knows). This is good for government transparency.

        I would agree that there needs to be a public discussion about pros and cons, but thus far it doesn't seem cut and dried that YouTube hosting government videos is entirely a bad thing. Or entirely a good thing, either.

        -- not an Obama supporter.

        • Hmm... that's true. On the other hand, they could simply syndicate it, couldn't they? Push the video to both places instead of just one. YouTube hosting isn't necessarily bad - it's the sole YouTube hosting that I'm not too sure about, and also the inherent partnership.

          I also am slightly (slightly) concerned (this is a little OT) with the twitter/facebook/whatever else usage, especially with the recent security issues with both of those. What we really need in this country are official Facebook and Twi

          • Hmm... that's true. On the other hand, they could simply syndicate it, couldn't they? Push the video to both places instead of just one

            That's kind of what they are doing by also having a link to download the video file directly instead of viewing the embedded youtube player.

        • So everything the government publishes on the internet should be hosted by a non-governmental organization? After all, the government could simply edit their websites to remove embarrassing information.
    • by Chabo (880571)
      Ideally, I'd like to see the government distribute videos via bittorrent, so they don't have to have servers that are that good, OR use a commercial site. Have a direct link to a low-quality video, and have the high-quality one available as a torrent.

      Problem solved.
    • Yeah, I don't see why they should use Youtube at all. If it's just an issue of getting the video up on their site, they should be able to do that on their own (including using Flash to embed them). Or is there some other benefit that posting on Youtube gives them?

      It seems like it should be enough to make them public domain, so that people can post them to Youtube if they want. The government should even be able to post them both on their own site and Youtube. I just don't understand why they should use

      • by Chyeld (713439)

        They do have the videos up on their site, go to the link posted in the summary, http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/inaugural-address/ [whitehouse.gov] and check the download link. It's a direct whitehouse.gov link.

        The advantage they have in posting the streaming version to YouTube is that now the videos are seen by more than just the folk who follow whitehouse.gov. YouTube is the #1, no contenders, site for sharing videos. Myspace, Facebook, nothing else comes close to it's viewer base. Even the "don't upload, just watch" sites

    • by WPIDalamar (122110) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @05:10PM (#26565799) Homepage

      The way government is run, it'll cost a minimum of $500,000 a year to run it's own.

      Or... $0 a year.

    • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @05:26PM (#26566023)

      My initial reaction was the same. But then it dawns on me that the new Administration is using YouTube like any other agent of the Press. Do we demand that the US Goverment set up its own TV stations and newspapers? No. The President announces a press conference and lets the media do their own thing. Occasionally, he does an interview with a specific host of a specific show to convey some particular message. YouTube is simply a recent take on a very old idea.

      • by Ironica (124657)

        My initial reaction was the same. But then it dawns on me that the new Administration is using YouTube like any other agent of the Press. Do we demand that the US Goverment set up its own TV stations and newspapers? No. The President announces a press conference and lets the media do their own thing.

        If he was just posting the videos for download and then letting people post them on YouTube, that would be an accurate analogy... but the President invites representatives from many, many news outlets to the press conferences and briefings, rather than always calling this one newspaper when they have something to say.

        • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

          ... but the President invites representatives from many, many news outlets to the press conferences and briefings, rather than always calling this one newspaper when they have something to say.

          Not always. For example, the other night I saw an interview with President Bush and the First Lady on Larry King. There was no press pool.

          Now - I don't really pay attention to these things. So I'm not sure how many interviews Bush was giving to other news outlets at the time. But I do know he's given personal one-on-one interviews before. So while I see YouTube as a channel for broadcasting a message, i'd think it would be a good idea if the Whitehouse also sought other such channels as well.

          Of course

    • I am glad they used YouTube and didn't spend big bucks developing their own solution. In the unlikely events that:

      a. YouTube deletes their video
      b. YouTube ceases to exist


      They have the original videos and can always do something else with them. It's kinda like saying that we'd have to create a government funded TV network to host debates. Sometimes idealism just isn't practical so you have to pick your battles.
  • OH NOES! PANIC! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Reality Master 201 (578873) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @04:34PM (#26565221) Journal

    THIS IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT NEWS ITEM OF THE DAY AND UNDERMINES OUR DEMOCRACY!

    Obama is evil because his staff allowed You Tube to set a cookie. There's a conspiracy. They've gotten to him, he's in the bag for them. I bet he got use of the orbital mind control lasers in exchange for this.

    Jesus christ, what the fuck? YouTube gets to set a cookie on the page. Is that really a huge deal? Now they know you watched the Inauguration video from the White House website! Oh noes!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Obama (1458545)

      The orbital mind control laser. You know too much.

      • I used to "know" about this "orbital mind control laser", but after I got over my absurd paranoia (right about the time I lost my silly aluminum foil cranial covering) I realized I never actually knew anything.
    • by AioKits (1235070) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @04:41PM (#26565351)
      To be fair, I voted for Obama because his campaign here in Oklahoma promised me cookies would follow if he became President. I guess this is close... I was kind of hoping for chocolate chip.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Listen, the story isn't that websites can set cookies. Everyone knows this is the case.

      The story is that YouTube was specifically exempted from the requirements.

      So the question becomes "Why would you make a specific exemption for one provider and not for an entire class of providers?"

      • by tbannist (230135)

        That's an interesting question and one that I asked too before I read the article. Looks to me like the exemption is for "the video provider" and later on they explain that the video provider is YouTube and what YouTube does with the tracking cookies.

        I'm sure it can easily be updated to include any other video providers they might choose to use.

      • Maybe only YouTube presented a sufficiently convincing case for the exemption.

      • by DarkOx (621550)

        Does anyone know if this is actual LAW, as in enacted by Congress and signed by the President; some sort of well defined bylaw or just a Policy? In any of those cases it seems like there could be an equal protection question if some other streaming video provider felt like doing a law suit.

    • It's been two days and we're still in Iraq and the economy is still in the toilet AND NOW THIS?!!?

      So, who wants Bush back?

      Thought so.

  • So... WTF? (Score:2, Interesting)

    What makes YouTube so extra special?

    What is so interesting about my online video viewing habits that the Ideological State Apparatus feels it is worthwhile to let them track it?

    And if I delete cookies? Then what use is it?

    we can (rightfully) whinge about the Republican Fascist Death Machine, but this is the kind of idiotic actions re: ISA's that the Democratic Party is stuck to as if with glue at its wrists and ankles.

    RS

    • Re:So... WTF? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Todd Knarr (15451) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @04:46PM (#26565437) Homepage

      It's because YouTube hosts the videos, not the White House site. And the White House has no viable way to make YouTube not use tracking cookies on the content it serves up depending on the site the videos were embedded on. So they have a choice: allow YouTube to set it's normal cookies even when the videos are embedded in pages on the White House site, or never use YouTube for videos in the blog.

      This isn't political. It's not about the White House, or the Democrafts, or the Republicans. It's about how YouTube tracks it's users. All users, all sites/blogs/whatever that drop YouTube videos into their pages.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 22, 2009 @04:36PM (#26565261)

    Other gov sites broadcast video just fine without using cookies: http://www.america.gov/multimedia/video.html?videoId=8789243001 [america.gov]

    Why can't whitehouse.gov?

    • by beej (82035)

      Other gov sites broadcast video just fine without using cookies: http://www.america.gov/multimedia/video.html?videoId=8789243001 [america.gov]

      That site set a session cookie on my browser as soon as I showed up. How do you know they don't use it for tracking?

      Why can't whitehouse.gov?

      Youtube is the cookiemonger here, not wh.g.

      When people start trying to regulate the presentation layer of all this data, they're asking for way more trouble than they know. Please stop it before greasemonkey gets turned into a munition or something insane like that.

      The only reasonable way to look at this issue is that YOU are the client and YOU are running software that went to wh.g, and the

  • So um (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Smidge204 (605297) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @04:45PM (#26565411) Journal

    A third party host - YouTube - is allowed to keep tracking cookies. The federal regulation on tracking cookies applies only to federal websites, so that's not really a problem.

    People seem suspicious that only YouTube was granted this exemption, but... are there any other third-party hosts that have things embedded in the whitehouse.gov website? If not, I still don't understand the problem here. YouTube is doing the tracking, not the feds. If the concern is over the ability of the feds to get that tracking data, then there are so many other ways they could do that it's not even worth getting butthurt over.

    Sounds like this guy is just picking a nit.
    =Smidge=

    • Re:So um (Score:4, Interesting)

      by blueg3 (192743) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @05:02PM (#26565679)

      Yes -- it seems that YouTube is the only one granted this exception because they're the only third-party embedded content.

      Incidentally, I was actually somewhat surprised when I went to whitehouse.gov to discover that it didn't use any third-party JavaScript and worked just fine with JavaScript disabled.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SatanicPuppy (611928) *

        The government has strict rules about the content they put up; it has to be 100% accessible to people with disabilities, and javascript causes a lot of problems with that.

        On the one hand, this is obviously a no-brainer, because the gov't should be accessible to everyone. On the other hand, it means that developing websites is so expensive that they don't do it often, so even agencies that might be inclined to put things online don't do it because of the hassle.

  • by Chyeld (713439) <chyeldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday January 22, 2009 @04:50PM (#26565501)

    For videos that are visible on WhiteHouse.gov, a 'persistent cookie' is set by third party providers when you click to play a video. (We may experience some engineering difficulties as the new Whitehouse.gov is posted and reviewed. We intend, however, to fully enforce the above provisions as soon as possible. If you are experiencing any difficulties, please contact us.)

    This persistent cookie is used by YouTube to help maintain the integrity of video statistics. A waiver has been issued by the White House Counsel's office to allow for the use of this persistent cookie.

    If you would like to view a video without the use of persistent cookies, a link to download the video file is typically provided just below the video.

    In other words, "When we link to a third party, non government owned, website to host videos, they will set their own tracking cookie as per their own policy. We've checked with our lawyers, they say this is OK and written a waiver to that effect. But just in case you don't want the cookie, we also include links to the videos to accomidate you."

    What a non-story story.

  • On the whitehouse.gov site you have the following

    For videos that are visible on WhiteHouse.gov, a 'persistent cookie' is set by third party providers when you click to play a video. (We may experience some engineering difficulties as the new Whitehouse.gov is posted and reviewed. We intend, however, to fully enforce the above provisions as soon as possible. If you are experiencing any difficulties, please contact us.)
    This persistent cookie is used by YouTube to help maintain the integrity of video stat

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @04:54PM (#26565547) Homepage

    > Visitors to the official White House blog will receive long-term tracking cookies
    > whenever they surf to a web-page with an embedded YouTube video -- even those users
    > that do not click the "play" button.

    Unless, of course, they choose not to accept the cookies, in which case they don't receive them. The videos still work fine.

  • I get it! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hordeking (1237940)
    I understand what's going on. The White House isn't allowed to track users, and Google is. So the White House is going to let Google track the users. Then when the POTUS wants to find out who's been at the site, he'll issue some kind of EO to google to release that information in the name of "National Security".

    Insidious. Clever!

    Of course, now that I've figured this out, I'll be expecting a visit from some droll men in suits and sunglasses. I better have some tea ready for them.
    • by pclminion (145572)
      Right, because the people who pose the biggest risk to national security are those who go to Whitehouse.gov. Anybody trying to learn about the executive branch is clearly a terrorist and must be executed.
  • The new White House website privacy policy promises that the site will not use long-term tracking cookies, complying with a decade old rule prohibiting such user tracking by federal agencies. However, Obama's legal team has quietly exempted YouTube from this rule.

    Last I checked, YouTube is not a federal agency. Why do they need a waiver from a rule which prevents federal agencies from using long-term tracking cookies to track users?

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