White House exempts YouTube from privacy rules

The new Web site for Obama’s White House is already drawing attention from privacy activists and tech bloggers. While the initial focus has been on the site’s policies relating to search engine robots, a far more interesting tidbit has so far escaped the public eye: the White House has quietly exempted YouTube from strict rules relating to the use of cookies on federal agency Web sites.

The new White House Web site 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, the privacy policy then reveals that Obama’s legal team has exempted YouTube from this rule (YouTube videos are embedded at various places around the White House Web site).

While the White House might not be tracking visitors, the Google-owned video sharing site is free to use persistent cookies to track the browsing behavior of millions of visitors to Obama’s home in cyberspace.

No other company has been singled out and rewarded with such a waiver.

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  1. February 8th, 2012
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