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White House Exempts YouTube From Web Privacy Rules

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the but-other-than-this-one-thing dept.

Privacy 235

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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whitehouse.gov (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26565131)

Wasn't whitehouse.gov itself using tracking cookies as well? Is it not covered under the blanket ban on such things?

Re:whitehouse.gov (1, Funny)

grantek (979387) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565223)

Next up, a FF extension to take a blacklist of domains and insert random data into cookies that are requested by them. name=LOGIN_INFO content=osamaobamabombnukebananarama

Re:whitehouse.gov (3, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565375)

Hum.... nuked bananas.... <drool> /Homer

Re:whitehouse.gov (3, Funny)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565567)

Hmm... naked Bananarama... /me

Re:whitehouse.gov (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26565739)

The question I have for Obama is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single fat colored mammy sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check?

This is disturbing... (2, Interesting)

bsharp8256 (1372285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565139)

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.

Re:This is disturbing... (4, Interesting)

tixxit (1107127) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:This is disturbing... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:This is disturbing... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26566087)

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:This is disturbing... (2, Funny)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26566237)

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.

One more reason for them to not use YouTube (3, Funny)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:This is disturbing... (2, Insightful)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26566395)

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 word with the new webdevs.

They can't control external websites (5, Insightful)

DotNM (737979) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565143)

... unless they legislate them to remove those cookies. What alternatives to YouTube could they use?

Re:They can't control external websites (5, Insightful)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565293)

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:They can't control external websites (2, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565651)

use another site that doesn't use cookies

You're so funny! Can I have some of what you're smoking?

Re:They can't control external websites (4, Funny)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565733)

Smoking is bad for you. Here, we bake it into cookies. You want one?

Re:They can't control external websites (5, Insightful)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:They can't control external websites (5, Informative)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:They can't control external websites (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26566391)

"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.

Re:They can't control external websites (5, Insightful)

kabocox (199019) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:They can't control external websites (3, Informative)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565905)

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.

Re:They can't control external websites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26566183)

There are lots of options, this is simply the one that's most beneficial to Obama campaign contributors [louisgray.com] .

T,FTFY

Re:They can't control external websites (4, Informative)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:They can't control external websites (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26565585)

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.

Re:They can't control external websites (1)

beej (82035) | more than 5 years ago | (#26566371)

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?

Re:They can't control external websites (2, Insightful)

nizo (81281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26566235)

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

Re:They can't control external websites (1)

aonic (878715) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565551)

Youtube is nice because it's accessible from a lot of places that other flash videos aren't (iPhones and AppleTVs come to mind, for me at least)

i wish my local weather video podcast used youtube instead of its own proprietary flash video player, so i could watch it on my iphone instead of having to use a computer.

also, during the campaign, the obama camp released an iphone app that had youtube links to all of their latest ads and video press releases. it was actually really useful for me when i was running around canvassing for them.

Re:They can't control external websites (0)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565819)

What alternatives to YouTube could they use?

Um, just about anything?

Re:They can't control external websites (1)

drDugan (219551) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565971)

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)

red title background (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26565153)

You know, every so often I see the latest story with a red background. I know this is supposed to be for subscribers, of which I am not one. I am not even logged in. Is this a bug?

Re:red title background (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26565281)

I think the red background means that the story has zero comments, that's all.

Re:red title background (1)

grantek (979387) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565327)

I saw it too, the only thing I noticed is that at the time the story had 0 replies. Maybe it means "hot off the press"?

Re:red title background (2, Informative)

pablomme (1270790) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565359)

More like "time for frist psot pissing contest!".

Re:red title background (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26565353)

go read the other several dozen red title posts strewn over the last few months of /. articles

Who cares? (3, Insightful)

WPIDalamar (122110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565165)

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?

Re:Who cares? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26565301)

Read this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_cookie#Privacy_and_third-party_cookies

Re:Who cares? (3, Interesting)

grantek (979387) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565433)

One thing I didn't see in that paragraph is the fact that you can track a laptop geographically, ie. a user has been visiting the White House page from Iraq and is now showing up from an IP in the US.

Re:Who cares? (4, Insightful)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565915)

Quick, everyone connect to Iraqi proxy servers for a week, then go back to your regular domain.

Re:Who cares? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26566381)

Oh, great. You've slashdotted a whole country.

The U.S. government should have its own servers. (4, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565173)

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.

Re:The U.S. government should have its own servers (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565319)

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

Re:The U.S. government should have its own servers (0, Flamebait)

bmajik (96670) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565339)

Yes, and the youtube TOS prohibits you from mirroring the videos or viewing them offline.

It's important for the government communications to be format/time shiftable so that we can pretend that we can hold them accountable to what they said in the past.

Re:The U.S. government should have its own servers (2, Informative)

Sancho (17056) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565455)

Interestingly, if you go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qN1S1LdkUeg [youtube.com] you'll see that there is a "click to download" option. As far as I can see, all of this account's videos are downloadable.

Re:The U.S. government should have its own servers (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565357)

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. :)

Re:The U.S. government should have its own servers (5, Interesting)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565643)

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.

Re:The U.S. government should have its own servers (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565757)

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 Twitter accounts... and then, all we need after that is to have them hacked. :P

Re:The U.S. government should have its own servers (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565991)

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.

Re:The U.S. government should have its own servers (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565963)

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.

Government's own video servers - Issues (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565599)

The U.S. government should have its own video servers ...

Possible issues to solve before implementation:

  1. More taxpayers money spent on bandwidth.
  2. Botnet of PCs that download/stream videos from whitehouse.gov, effectively causing a DDoS.
  3. Setting up streaming servers nearer to Tier 1 ISPs may equate lesser physical security.

Re:The U.S. government should have its own servers (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565615)

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.

Re:The U.S. government should have its own servers (0, Redundant)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565815)

While I think offering them as torrents is a good idea, I would hope that it wouldn't be strictly necessary. If the federal government can't manage the infrastructure necessary to host some public videos, it seems like we're in some trouble.

Re:The U.S. government should have its own servers (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565765)

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 Youtube as their primary means of dissemination.

Re:The U.S. government should have its own servers (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26566147)

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 are below it in terms in traffic.

Allowing more people to hear your message = good as far as I'm concerned. If I ever have an issue, it'll be when I start seeing "Five for Five!" ads in the middle of his speeches.

Re:The U.S. government should have its own servers (3, Insightful)

WPIDalamar (122110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565799)

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

Or... $0 a year.

Re:The U.S. government should have its own servers (4, Interesting)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Vimeo (1, Offtopic)

Obama (1458545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565201)

I was going to use Vimeo to host the vids, but got overrided. Frustrations.

OH NOES! PANIC! (4, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565221)

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:OH NOES! PANIC! (4, Funny)

Obama (1458545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565333)

The orbital mind control laser. You know too much.

Re:OH NOES! PANIC! (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 5 years ago | (#26566269)

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.

Re:OH NOES! PANIC! (5, Funny)

AioKits (1235070) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:OH NOES! PANIC! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26565725)

Damn, you guys were promised hookers and candy?

It sucks to be in a blue state. All we got was more posturing by the powerful types to fill a soon-to-be empty senate seat.

Re:OH NOES! PANIC! (5, Funny)

sheph (955019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26566261)

You think that's bad??? I'm still waiting for my CHANGE!!!

Re:OH NOES! PANIC! (0)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565469)

Exactly. Get over it people. Set your browser to not allow cookies from YouTube. BFD.

Re:OH NOES! PANIC! (1, Offtopic)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565515)

Exactly. Get over it people. Set your browser to not allow cookies from YouTube. BFD.

Exactly. If you're really concerned about it, set your browser to 1) not accept third-party cookies and 2) delete cookies on exit. You can set Firefox (and probably Opera) to keep certain cookies if you want to remain logged into certain sites all the time.

Re:OH NOES! PANIC! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26565635)

where is the constant ramblings we heard about the slippery slope when bush was in office? it's not as much what the actual function that i feel is a problem here as what i do that obama is showing that he can single out corporate interests. if he picks and chooses what companies get favor today and we wink at it what will it lead to tomorrow?

Re:OH NOES! PANIC! (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26566317)

That's right, if we have learned one thing from the past administration, we know that today it is cookies from youtube, but tomorrow it is warrantless wiretaps and waterboarding (not to be confused with snowboarding).

Re:OH NOES! PANIC! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26565649)

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?"

Re:OH NOES! PANIC! (1)

tbannist (230135) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565925)

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.

Why make overly broad exemptions? (1)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565995)

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

Re:OH NOES! PANIC! (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 5 years ago | (#26566325)

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.

Re:OH NOES! PANIC! and we're STILL in Iraq (2, Interesting)

wsanders (114993) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565717)

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? (1, Interesting)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565235)

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? (3, Informative)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565437)

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.

Other sites comply just fine (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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?

Re:Other sites comply just fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26565779)

Because Obama plans to put his weekly addresses on the WhiteHouse.gov website, as reincarnations of the 'fireside chat'.

The reason it'll be put on YouTube is so that people actually watch it and can use the comments, however shitty YouTube's comment system may be, as feedback and a method to discuss the issues.

Re:Other sites comply just fine (1)

whoop (194) | more than 5 years ago | (#26566435)

... and the cookies will come in handy as this is now Day 2 of the 2012 Presidential Campaign.

Cookies are used internally for statistics, and this is no different. They want to know how often people come back and such to be able to tap them for donations before too long.

So um (5, Insightful)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565411)

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 (3, Interesting)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:So um (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#26566027)

Then the rule should not say that YouTube is an exception. It should state that all 3rd-party sites are an exception.

I think lawmakers should take database classes so that they learn normalization. Instead of making a law/rule that says "Do it this way, except for YouTube" they should say "Do it this way, except for 3rd-party sites linked from government web sites"

The corruption begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26565423)

The honeymoon is over already. Obama is going to sell us down the river.

Why don't they just look over our shoulders 24/7 ? (0, Flamebait)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565479)

Is this what our government is wasting its time with? Monitoring what websites we browse even more? Is knowing what John and Jane Doe viewed on YouTube going to restore our economy or end the war? Shouldn't those be the priorities instead?

We are at war with two countries that we have no business being involved with. Our entire economy and capitalistic system is rapidly collapsing while rampant bailout spending is furthering the problems with no oversight whatsoever. Unemployment and homelessness are continually rising as are foreclosure rates. We have one of the worst education success rates and literacy rates of developed nations but we spend the most per capita of all developed countries on education. Global warming destroying our habitat and living space. Why isn't the federal government focusing 100% on those issues? Even a second of manpower wasted on monitoring YouTube usage by John Doe is a complete waste of federal resources.

I wonder how many people and lawyers and lobbyists where hired and used to make this one decision about tracking internet usage? A team of ten? Possibly fifty? How much did this one decision cost in terms of hours? How many billable hours are we talking on taxpayer burden? $500,000? $1,000,000 worth of taxpayer money?

The fact is that this is a colossal waste of public resources. The more time spent on anything but restructuring our economy and removing us from war, the closer we get to our complete collapse as a nation.

This is just a small example of how the federal government wastes its time. Congressional hearings for cheating in Major League Baseball? Check. Joe Biden and John McCain were major players in those hearings by the way. Seeing if video games can be banned from being sold if they are violent? Check. Hilary Clinton and Al & Tipper Gore have had that on their agenda for years. Instead of worrying about issues that matter our government hires teams of lawyers and technicians to track YouTube usage or investigate athletes or to stop GTA from being played.

You, sir, are an idiot. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26565559)

The government aren't tracking you. (Well, probably they are, but this isn't it).

The entirety of this story is: Whitehouse.gov has embedded YouTube videos. Whitehouse.gov has no control over what cookies YouTube sets. Therefore, whitehouse.gov can either not embed YouTube videos or exempt YouTube from the cookie-ban.

Did you ever go to a blog with a YouTube video? Then you got "tracked" in the exact same way as you will on whitehouse.gov. By YouTube, not the government.

Re:Why don't they just look over our shoulders 24/ (1)

paazin (719486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565629)

The fact is that this is a colossal waste of public resources.

Actually quite the opposite - reinventing the wheel by creating a government-only version of Youtube would be a colossal waste of public resources. When there's a free-market solution already out there Uncle Sam should be enthusiastically embrace it instead of adding to government waste

Re:Why don't they just look over our shoulders 24/ (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565821)

I like how you apparently don't know what this is about, so describe it as "monitoring what websites we browse even more" and don't know how much time or money was put into the decision, so label it a "colossal waste of public resources".

I guess in the absence of facts, the thing to do is make things up and be angry about your invented reality.

Re:Why don't they just look over our shoulders 24/ (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565881)

Is this what our government is wasting its time with? Monitoring what websites we browse even more? Is knowing what John and Jane Doe viewed on YouTube going to restore our economy or end the war? Shouldn't those be the priorities instead?

What they're OBVIOUSLY trying to do is find out what bin Laden is viewing on YouTube.

Or maybe the US Federal government is so big with so much diversity in personnel that they can have their webmonkeys play with websites to keep the general public informed as to what is going on (transparency in government, hopefully, though propaganda is just as likely at this point) while their military/intelligence personnel can focus on the war, and their economists can focus on, well, the economy.

We are at war with two countries that we have no business being involved with. Our entire economy and capitalistic system is rapidly collapsing while rampant bailout spending is furthering the problems with no oversight whatsoever. Unemployment and homelessness are continually rising as are foreclosure rates. We have one of the worst education success rates and literacy rates of developed nations but we spend the most per capita of all developed countries on education. Global warming destroying our habitat and living space. Why isn't the federal government focusing 100% on those issues? Even a second of manpower wasted on monitoring YouTube usage by John Doe is a complete waste of federal resources.

You think their webmonkeys will contribute positively to these issues?

I wonder how many people and lawyers and lobbyists where hired and used to make this one decision about tracking internet usage? A team of ten? Possibly fifty? How much did this one decision cost in terms of hours? How many billable hours are we talking on taxpayer burden? $500,000? $1,000,000 worth of taxpayer money?

Think of it this way: that's a million bucks they CAN'T spend on the war instead. And these lawyers and support staff probably all live in the US and will likely spurn on the economy in their own area (largely DC, but they might order anal toys on-line from MA or something). If you're having difficulty thinking of it this way, don't worry, so am I.

Personally, I think that a legislative solution to a technical problem is troubling in its own right. There are hundreds if not thousands of businesses that would love to be able to issue waivers to themselves to bypass some annoyance (e.g., waste treatment, carbon emissions, etc.), but they can't. Abuse of a small power on day two of your new job is NOT a positive step. Apparently, you need to hire more technically-minded webmonkeys. But, make no mistake: it's a SMALL thing.

-- not an Obama supporter.

The only reason (0, Flamebait)

sudotron (1459285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565491)

this is significant is because Google's PAC was the fourth largest contributor [opensecrets.org] to the Obama campaign. So, if anything else, it just shows that Obama is beholden to corporate interests just like every other president before him. No surprise there. On another note, I have my browser configured to delete all cookies when it is closed. This really ought to be the default on all browsers, as the only thing cookies have any use for (to you) is keeping track of your transactions when you're logged into a website. If they get deleted, all you have to do is log in again.

Re:The only reason (2, Funny)

tbannist (230135) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565961)

If that's all the he does to pay back his 4th largest contributor, that'd put him in contention for least corruption politician ever.

I don't think shows anything other than Obama's web staff like using YouTube on the White House web site.

Re:The only reason (2, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#26566049)

umm....sure... Google lobbied Obama so that he would get his White House staff to allow cookies on Youtube videos. That's a big win for Google. lol.

Relations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26565493)

Compared to what the NSA is doing i'd say this is not the end of the world. Get a grip, you can turn them off, unless you're using IE. Then you just don't know you could.

"ZOMG, the new government is evil because now it tells us who is tracking whom!"

full of sound and fury; signifying nothing... (5, Informative)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:full of sound and fury; signifying nothing... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565863)

As CNET reports, no other company has been singled out and rewarded with such a waiver.

Maybe because the government site doesn't link to any other sites in ways that contact its servers even when the user doesn't click any links? Sorry if this is too technical for the article submitter.

Read the links in the article Non-Story (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565517)

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 statistics. A waiver has been issued by the White House Counsel's office to allow for the use of this persistent cookie.

Also read the governments requirement on cookies you can have them but you have to give a reason and purpose. It came from when you had that mass scare of cookies are evil and should be blocked and has never been changed, all federal sites just have the same boilerplate comments and ignore the it.

If you don't want cookies block the damn things. (4, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565547)

> 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.

You're missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26565571)

The problem here isn't that a youtube tracking cookie set in part thanks to government website could make your computer explode. The problem is the precedent it sets, government favoritism of youtube/google. Like when congress made youtube the official video sharing site for their content. The government shouldn't be picking favorites. They should release their own videos, on their own site, in the public domain and let people rip them over to youtube if they want.

shut up (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26565727)

please shut the fuck up already about the US of A's new nigger

i am really sick of hearing aboot it for the last 3 years

I get it! (2, Insightful)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565825)

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.

Re:I get it! (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26566419)

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.

Quitely? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26565941)

It states clearly and explicitly in their own privacy statement that Youtube is exempt from the tracker cookie issue and the reason why.

we really are scraping the barrel when a news story can be summed up by event + adverb = conspiracy.

Re:Quitely? (2, Insightful)

truckaxle (883149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26566301)

Slashdot sensationalistic reporting frequently uses "quietly" to give a sense of wrong doing or subversive action.

I suppose it strokes the ego of the reporter as it they feel they are uncovering some dirty laundry when typically the event or action wasn't quiet or just wasn't important enough to warrant a press conference. In this case both apply.

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