|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
The Obama administration is proposing to scale back a long-standing ban on tracking how people use government Internet sites with "cookies" and other technologies, raising alarms among privacy groups.
A two-week public comment period ended Monday on a proposal by the White House Office of Management and Budget to end a ban on federal Internet sites using such technologies and replace it with other privacy safeguards. The current prohibition, in place since 2000, can be waived if an agency head cites a "compelling need."
Supporters of a change say social networking and similar services, which often take advantage of the tracking technologies, have transformed how people communicate over the Internet, and Obama's aides say those services can make government more transparent and increase public involvement.
Some privacy groups say the proposal amounts to a "massive" and unexplained shift in government policy. In a statement Monday, American Civil Liberties Union spokesman Michael Macleod-Ball said the move could "allow the mass collection of personal information of every user of a federal government website."