OMB denies knowing about website tracking

Unbeknown to the Bush administration, an outside contractor has been using Web bugs to link anonymous Web analytics to individual cookies.
Written by ZDNet UK, Contributor

The Office of Management and Budget has denied knowing about placing cookies on visitors to the White House website -  www.whitehouse.gov - blaming an outside contractor, reports the Associated Press. This announcement comes on the heels of the NSA acknowledging that it tracked users to their site as well. "Web bugs" placed on site visitors computors are not illegal unless they are linked to a data file.

"But when these bugs are linked to a data file known as a "cookie" so that a site can tell if the same person has visited again, a federal agency using them must demonstrate a "compelling need," get a senior official's signoff and disclose such usage, said Peter Swire, a Clinton administration official who helped draft the original rules.

Web Trends, who maintains the server for the White House stated that they do not aggregate information about visitors across multiple sites and referred inquires back to the White House.

The OMB is investigating whether tracking users inthis manner violates a 2003 policy banning the use of these technologies.

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