12/30/2005

U.S. to Probe Contractor’s Web Tracking

Filed under: — By Aviran Mordo @ 6:14 am

Unbeknown to the Bush administration, an outside contractor has been using Internet tracking technologies that may be prohibited to analyze usage and traffic patterns at the White House’s Web site, an official said Thursday.

David Almacy, the White House’s Internet director, promised an investigation into whether the practice is consistent with a 2003 policy from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget banning the use of most such technologies at government sites.

“No one even knew it was happening,” Almacy said. “We’re going to work with the contractor to ensure that it’s consistent with the OMB policy.”

The acknowledgment came a day after the National Security Agency admitted it had erred in using banned “cookies” at its Web site. Both acknowledgments followed inquiries by The Associated Press.

The White House’s Web site uses what’s known as a Web bug to anonymously keep track of who’s visiting and when. A Web bug is essentially a tiny graphic image - a dot, really - that’s virtually invisible. In this case, the bug is pulled from a server maintained by the contractor, WebTrends Inc., and lets the traffic analytic company know that another person has visited a specific page on the site.

Source: AP

 

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