Open Gov and Persistent Cookies

Over the past year we have engaged in discussions around open government, and the possibility of government sites being granted access to utilizing persistent cookies. There could be lack of trust from citizens, thinking that persistent cookies are just a way to track what you’re doing. But they can also be used to make your website experience more personal. With that in mind, I have outlined my idea on how to incorporate both OGD and the persistent cookie policy.

Step 1 – Transparency –

We have already seen this begin. Enable department agencies to push data out to the masses. Develop and implement measure tools to gauge the perception of transparency with the citizens. Allow for feedback. Data mine to find usefulness of data push for citizens, promote openness.

Step 2 (Persistent gov cookies) –

Engage in participation. This kind of can be thought of as 1b. Promote citizen feedback. In the promotion of citizen feedback there must be a “call to action” that engage citizens and show the true value of their participation.

Step 3 – Provide marketing communication that shows that Government utilizes feedback in timely fashion.

Step 4 – Take these timely findings and understand that transparency leads to trust. Build trust from steps 1, 2, and 3.

Step 5 – Engage public in value of persistent cookies. Understand what makes citizens insecure, show value proposition of having persistent cookies.

Step 6 – Of course these suggestions are just my thoughts. This can be a great starting point to throw your ideas out there. This doesn’t have to be about the persistent cookies, but a more general topic. The cookie policy was just top of mind and easy for me to relate the recent improvements in our government policy. What are your thoughts in pushing government initiatives?

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John Moore

Matt, thanks for sharing this thinking. For me the answer depends on the type of data you are going to store in permanent cookies. Will these cookies leverage P3P and be clearly documented on open data sites?

I always prefer to see web sites leveraging cookies that only store a unique identifier (encrypted of course), with the personalized information in back-end data stores (Oracle, SQL Server, MySql)?

Just a few quick thoughts, not sure if they help or not but wanted to weigh in.


Matt Zuby

I think you provide a perfect example of what I am speaking of. Engage the public in the value of persistent cookies. State the reasons why these cookies would be applied, and what they would be used for. Let the citizens provide feedback and provide responses to their concerns.

Thanks for the post!