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August 25, 2009: USACM Cautions Federal Government on Web Tracking

ACM Bulletin Service
Today's Topic: USACM Cautions Federal Government on Web Tracking
August 25, 2009


In response to the U.S. government’s reexamination of their current ban on cookie technology, USACM, ACM’s U.S. Public Policy Committee, recently submitted comments on using web tracking technologies.

Cookies, an example of web tracking technologies, are bits of code that can be deposited on your computer to help the web site you are visiting remember things about you.

USACM acknowledged that cookies can significantly improve citizens’ interactions with government websites and promote civic engagement. USACM’s comments also cited the challenges of using Personally Identifiable Information (PII) for web tracking, or when financial records or medical data are involved or exposed through careless collection.

Among the USACM recommendations are:

  • Minimizing the collection of PII
  • Incorporating proper website design and access controls
  • Limiting web tracking technologies to HTTP cookies until users can track and manage it on their computers
  • Additional details and commentary are available at: http://usacm.acm.org/usacm/PDF/USACM_Web_Tracking_Comments_Final.pdf