The new privacy policy at the White House website says, among other things, that it doesn’t use long term tracking cookies in accordance with a ruling prohibiting the use of long term “persistent” cookies by federal agencies.

In and of itself, that’s great.  There’s more than enough websites trying to track users over the long term as it is without adding government sites to the list.  Unfortunately, there’s been one not-so-tiny change in this recently.

With absolutely no fanfare, Obama’s legal people have quietly given YouTube an exemption from this rule.

This means that when anyone visits the official White House blog, if they load a page that has an embedded YouTube video on it, they’ll get treated to a long term tracking cookie.  Even if you don’t play the video.

According to a CNet article, YouTube is the only site that’s gotten treated to such an exemption.

For that matter, YouTube apparently sets this long term tracking cookie anytime you’re on any page that has one of their players embedded, whether you play the video or not.

Fortunately, you can recover (some of) your privacy by deleting cookies.  Just be aware that anytime you load a page with a YouTube video on it, that a fresh cookie will be set.

My personal way to deal with this is to set my browser to delete *ALL* cookies when I close the browser.  Yes, it means having to log on to sites more often but I think that’s a reasonable trade-off for even slightly improved privacy.

Technorati Tags: delete cookies, youtube, persistent cookies, long term cookies, youtube video, obama, cookies, white house blog, tracking, privacy, tracking cookies

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