Internet Privacy: Implementation of Federal Guidance for Agency Use of Cookies

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Federal agencies are using Internet "cookies" to enable electronic transactions and track visitors on their websites. Cookies are text files that have unique identifiers and are used to store and retrieve information that allow websites to recognize returning users, track on-line purchases, or maintain and serve customized web pages. This report discusses whether (1) federal websites complied with the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) guidance on the use of cookies and (2) the guidance provided federal agencies with clear instructions on the use of cookies. ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. April 27, 2001.

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This report is part of the collection entitled: Government Accountability Office Reports and was provided by UNT Libraries Government Documents Department to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. More information about this report can be viewed below.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Federal agencies are using Internet "cookies" to enable electronic transactions and track visitors on their websites. Cookies are text files that have unique identifiers and are used to store and retrieve information that allow websites to recognize returning users, track on-line purchases, or maintain and serve customized web pages. This report discusses whether (1) federal websites complied with the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) guidance on the use of cookies and (2) the guidance provided federal agencies with clear instructions on the use of cookies. GAO reviewed 65 websites randomly selected from the General Services Administration's government domain registry database between November 2000 and January 2001 to determine whether they used persistent cookies and whether such use was disclosed in the website's privacy policy. As of January 2001, most of the websites reviewed were following OMB's guidance on the use of cookies. Of the 65 sites GAO reviewed, 57 did not use persistent cookies on their websites, eight used persistent cookies, four did not disclose such use in their privacy policy, and the remaining four sites using persistent cookies did provide disclosure but did not meet OMB's other conditions for using cookies. In addition, four other sites that did not use cookies did not post privacy policies on their home pages. Those sites were taking, or planning to take, corrective action to address their noncompliance with OMB guidance. GAO found that although OMB's guidance proved useful in ensuring that federal websites address privacy issues, the guidance remained fragmented, with multiple documents addressing various aspects of Web site privacy and cookie issues. In addition, the guidance did not provide clear direction on the disclosure of session cookies."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • April 27, 2001

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Internet Privacy: Implementation of Federal Guidance for Agency Use of Cookies, report, April 27, 2001; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc290715/: accessed October 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.