|Federal Web Sites Violate Privacy Rules|
Federal Inspectors General have reported that at least 64 U.S. government Web sites continue to violate Internet privacy policies issued by former President Clinton.
Preliminary results of Internet privacy reports reveal that some federal agencies are struggling to manage their Internet sites and data collection practices without violating Clinton Administration privacy policies. Although fewer than a third of the reports have been completed, Inspectors General have already found 64 federal agency Internet sites that used unauthorized permanent "cookies," information-collecting devices whose use was restricted last summer.
While Sen. Thompson noted that only a few Inspectors General were able to inspect all of their agency's Web pages, he highlighted the following violations of the privacy rules issued in late 2000 and early 2001 included the following:
General Services Administration: The GSA Inspector found a Web site managed by a private-sector contractor on which the contractor used a persistent cookie under an agreement giving him ownership of all of the data collected by the cookie.
"I want to commend the Inspectors General from these agencies on the work that they've done so far. Their efforts are helping us eliminate cookies and bring the websites into compliance with privacy policies," Thompson said.
The Internet privacy reports were required by the Treasury-Postal title of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2000.
The legislation requiring the Inspectors General reports followed an audit ordered by Sen. Thompson in October of 2000 which found that 13 agencies were using the information-gathering devices despite claiming they weren't doing so.
Senator Thompson said that when Congress returns from recess he will be introducing bipartisan legislation to establish a commission to look at government privacy practices.