Decision on using persistent cookies coming soon, Fed CIO says

OMB could make a decision by next month on whether federal agencies can use persistent cookies on their Web sites.

The Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs could make a decision by next month on whether federal agencies can use persistent cookies on their Web sites, an issue that has drawn criticism amid concerns of privacy.

“One of the biggest issues we are going to confront as a society is digital privacy and we want to make sure that we are doing so in a responsible way and not making any rash decisions,” Vivek Kundra, federal chief information officer, told a gathering of government Web managers on April 27.

Responding to a Web manager’s question — that drew huge applause from the audience — about the timeframe for giving agencies permission to use persistent cookies, Kundra said it has taken longer than anticipated to make a decision because the federal government wants to make sure that people’s privacy is protected.

“We are not a year away, but we are literally a month or so away” from making a decision, Kundra said.


Full remarks by Federal CIO Vivek Kundra at Brookings on cloud computing


Persistent cookies let Web sites store certain information about visitors so the site can remember things about them, such as tracking preferences and items purchased or stored in shopping carts.

Last year in a White House blog, Michael Fitzpatrick, associate administrator of that OMB office, said the government was re-examining the prohibition of the use of persistent cookies as part of the Open Government Initiative. He cited changes in Internet technology prompting a need for re-evaluation of the policy. Amid privacy concerns, the government sought feedback through a two-week public comment period.

Kundra spoke on a panel during a morning session at the 2010 Government Web and New Media Conference in Washington sponsored by the General Services Administration. Joining Kundra on the panel titled “Open Government — Making it Real,” were David McClure, associate administrator of the General Services Administration's Office of Citizen Services and Macon Phillips, special assistant to the president and director of new media at the White House.

“Open Government is not an abstract notion,” Kundra told the Web managers. “It leads to better performance and innovation and allows the American people to not be passive, but actually engage in the democratic process.”

Kundra noted how shining the spotlight on agency IT investments via the Federal IT Dashboard on usaspending.gov has reduced waste and duplication and improved IT performance.

“What is really interesting is a lot of tips we are getting [about wasteful IT projects] are not coming from the government,” Kundra said. “We’re getting them from the American people through feedback.”

For example, an individual might say it doesn’t make sense that you are spending a $1 billion on this IT project when it seems like you should have done it for one-tenth of the price, he said.

Responding to a question about how agencies should deal with the growing volume of data that they now have to make public to avoid “data-clutter, the White House’s Phillips said there is a difference between data and content.

“If you can design interfaces that make sense, you can provide as much data as you can,” he said. For example, Amazon officials “wouldn’t say lets cut the number of shoes we sell in half because we have too much information — that is not the way it works,” Phillips said.

“You have a huge set of data and you figure out intuitive ways to present it,” Phillips said. That’s the content piece. Government Web managers will play a key role in helping people get the most out of their online experience, he noted.

“We have to put ourselves in the shoes of the citizen that is actually getting online,” GSA’s McClure said. “We have to make sure we put our content in plain language,” he stated, urging the Web mangers to help make Web content clear and concise and visually pleasing.

McClure said that agencies have to be more consistent in measuring performance because each agency does it differently now. He urged agencies to get regular feedback from their customers. Additionally, he urged managers to step out of their agency boxes and look for sensible ways to provide consistency and uniformity across sites government wide.

The morning session also featured a visit by GSA Administrator Martha Johnson — via Skype — who noted that GSA wanted to help the government use new media tools to “push the frontiers of collaboration.” Technology cannot be used for technology sake but must enable people to connect with one another, she said.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.