The Debate Over Cookies

I have been following the government’s dicussion regarding the federal cookie policy. I even posted on the blog because I feel the policy is holding agencies back from offering dynamic web services. However, since the issue has come to the forefront, the media is taking notice. I came across a story today the reinforces just how little I know about tracking on the internet, and cookies. I’d never heard of “Flash Cookies” before this. And I still don’t know how to control/delete them.

Think you deleted your cookies? Think again.

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Jaime L. Maynard

No, I hadn’t. Thank you for sharing. Though I understand the concerns, I still think that the government needs to reverse the no-cookie policy. Many tools (besides Google) need cookies to reach full potential.

Denise Hill


At the time that the ban was developed, a cookie was a cookie. They could be used to track where visitors go between sites. Tracking people is a “no-no”. Since then web and cookie technology has matured and it is time to reevaluate. Hence the article that you shared and the move to “revise the guidance to replace it with guidance that allows agencies to use persistent cookies to better serve customers’ needs” and still prohibit the use of “Tracking cookies”.

Jaime L. Maynard

But that’s the issue – a persistent cookie by it’s nature is a tracking cookie. These flash cookies are tracking. For me, it comes down to – if you don’t want to be tracked, avoid using the web. As long as the government offers full disclosure of how/wy/what info it is collecting, then the public should be able to make an informed decision on whether they accept the risk of allowing it.

Steve Radick

This is yet another case of policy by inertia. Policies should be flexible and adaptable as times and technology change. The problem is that while technology can and does change almost weekly, policies sit idle for years. As we’ve seen time and again with Gov 2.0, policies can and should be changed where it makes sense.