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NSA Web Site Puts 'Cookies' on Computers (from ATSNN)

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posted on Dec, 28 2005 @ 06:02 PM
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The National Security Agency's [NSA] has been placing Internet Cookies on peoples computers, tracking where they visit. They removed the cookies, once they were found out and a complaint was launched by a member of the public.
 



news.yahoo.com
The National Security Agency's Internet site has been placing files on visitors' computers that can track their Web surfing activity despite strict federal rules banning most of them.

These files, known as "cookies," disappeared after a privacy activist complained and The Associated Press made inquiries this week, and agency officials acknowledged Wednesday they had made a mistake. Nonetheless, the issue raises questions about privacy at a spy agency already on the defensive amid reports of a secretive eavesdropping program in the United States.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


…and another piece of the puzzle clicks into place.

I find this shocking, such things are actually illegal and this is a Government Agency - the National Security Agency. They were fully aware of what they were doing, they understood the consequences of their actions and infringed upon liberties of other human beings. They were spying, on anyone and everyone that visited their website.

So…what else have they illegally been up too?




posted on Dec, 28 2005 @ 06:12 PM
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Now wait...I am not trying to be insensitive to how you feel regarding the NSA, but you are aware, that thousands of websites put "cookies" on your computer everyday right? And track you? They collect information on you all the time.....but thats ok? So if there was no one monitoring anything on the net....and a message got through reagarding some attack and it occured, and this message did not come from outside of the US but from inside, you are going to tell me you would not be yelling "WHY WAS NO ONE MONITORING?" Do they overstep their bounds? I'm sure they have but I am fairly sure that the failure to overstep may/could have allowed something to happen. NOt defending them , or condoning them,simply pointing out that the monitoring of cookies is not something that just the NSA does.



posted on Dec, 28 2005 @ 06:12 PM
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The only thing these cookies could do is let the NSA know how often you visit there own site...pretty useless since I doubt terrorists swing by the NSA site to tell them their plans. This is a non-story IMHO.



posted on Dec, 28 2005 @ 06:12 PM
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Not very surprising really. This is not the first time that the US goverment has put into place monitoring software. Ever hear of Carnivore?

This is just another facet of the ongoing release of information of what and how the US goverment is monitoring.



posted on Dec, 28 2005 @ 06:26 PM
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Cookies can only be read by the server that sets the cookies, if I understand correctly.....so, I can't see what the big deal is.

They may be able to track your every move in other ways, but they can't track your online activity to other websites by setting a cookie from their server.



posted on Dec, 28 2005 @ 06:27 PM
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It’s a “No-story”?

Funny thing that, because there is something known as “Cookie Poisoning” this allows a user, to place a cookie which sends them all the cookies you have on your P.C. on a set cycle. This shockingly, would allow them to know every single website that leaves cookies and be sent them - which is shockingly, why the NSA cookie was set till 2035.

NetStorm, I do care.

They might catch someone, by raiding every home in the U.S. without a warrent or stopping every car, or tapping every phonecall, reading every e-mail and so on and so fourth. You know what? I enjoy my privacy. Members of my family died to give me the right to be free.

Sorry, I won't allow this freedom to be ripped from me - never was a fan of a Police State or Nazi Germany. Some people like these Nation's...



posted on Dec, 28 2005 @ 06:29 PM
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I guess the AP has never heard of this fancy thang called a 'delete cookies' button? Non-storyx2.





seekerof

[edit on 28-12-2005 by Seekerof]



posted on Dec, 28 2005 @ 06:33 PM
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Seekerof, that is all well and good but only helps those who know how to do that. Which can be said about many things, including other forms of spying.

It is alright to illegally enter your house, search it and leave without a person knowing because well...they should have used locks they couldn't pick.



posted on Dec, 28 2005 @ 06:35 PM
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Seekerof,
Not very many people know how to delete cookies or even what cookies are.
That is why so many "ABetterInternet" type "enhancements ar propagated so quickly and easily. The average web user is open to this type of exploit and would have no knowledge that anything was wrong.

To an earlier poster, You are correct that a cookie only reports back to it's home server. Unfortunately this does not prevent a monitoring type cookie from recording sites that you visit. If you remember a program called Gator which created a cookie that would do exactly what the goverment is accused of doing in this story. The Gator cookie would then report back to it's home servers with this information in order to "customize" pop ups that would interest the end user.



posted on Dec, 28 2005 @ 06:38 PM
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Must be a real slow news day. All one has to do is read their privacy statement on the website. They make it very clear they use software (cookies) to track and identify users.


For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, this government computer system employs software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage.

Except for authorized law enforcement, security, or counterintelligence investigations, no other attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits. Raw data logs are used for no other purposes and are scheduled for regular distribution in accordance with the National Archives and Records Administration Administrative and Management Records Disposition Schedule, Section 370-06ac. All data collection activities are in strict accordance with DoD Directive 5240.1.

www.nsa.gov...


No story times five



posted on Dec, 28 2005 @ 06:41 PM
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Well, a cookie is just a text file

If some spyware or browser security vunlnerability exploits that.....then that it is the problem, not the cookie file itself.

en.wikipedia.org...



posted on Dec, 28 2005 @ 06:43 PM
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Imspicy, read your source.

Cookies are not software but data; therefore, they cannot erase or read data from the user's computer. However, cookies can be used to collect some kind of information such as the sequence of Web page viewed by a user on a site or set of sites (see Tracking below).

They can be used, to record a set of sites and to report this.

It can be used both on their site and other websites to do this, as long as it is scripted correctly. This is what makes them illegal, such as Gator and this is what the point was about.

[edit on 28/12/2005 by Odium]



posted on Dec, 28 2005 @ 06:44 PM
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Oh c'mon guys, anyone that takes a passing fancy to computers learns about cookies early. 3 years ago I knew how to turn a comp. on, I thought that a defrag was a procedure that a doctor did after one sat on a hand grenade. Seekerof's point is valid imo. A little knowledge is not necessarily a bad thing. I agree, non-issue.



posted on Dec, 28 2005 @ 06:52 PM
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Mental Note:

When the Government and an Agency of does something illegal, it isn't an issue.


I'll remember that for future reference.



posted on Dec, 28 2005 @ 06:56 PM
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This certainly is not illegal. It may be against some ancient memo, but the executive branch can change policy at any time without telling anyone.



posted on Dec, 28 2005 @ 06:58 PM
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This is not a big deal. Not news-worthy. It's silly alarmist nonsense.

Cookies are not a big deal... unless you make net-nanny style monitoring software.

ATS writes several cookies.



posted on Dec, 28 2005 @ 07:02 PM
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originally posted by Odium
Mental Note:

When the Government and an Agency of does something illegal, it isn't an issue.


I'll remember that for future reference.


You do that. And while you're at it, check out these pretty words, firewall, virus protection, spyware programs....

What's your beef dude? It's your comp., are you so scared that you are SOOOOOOOOOO worried about protecting it? I'm not and I'm a tech dinosaur. I can protect my system though.

Again....................... NON-ISSUE!!! A little money goes a long way. Still worried about this? Can't help you, you're paranoid.



posted on Dec, 28 2005 @ 07:06 PM
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djohnsto77, I'm glad you approve of the Government being able to change Federal Laws whenever they so desire.

intrepid, it is a crime commited by an Agency of the State. Why not pass your idea out further? If that woman knew how to protect herself, she wouldn't be raped, if you had the right type of car alarm they would have never been able to break in...so on and so fourth.

A crime was committed, and it is sweeping it under the carpet.

Laws are there to protect people, that is their point in Social Policy.



posted on Dec, 28 2005 @ 07:06 PM
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Odium... that's not what "cookie poisoning" is. Such an attack cannot read other cookies from other domains.

Some trojans and other malware can indeed discover and read your cookies, but these are not obtained by simply browsing a site and receiving cookies.

Cookies are harmless. Only over-active "security" software firms seeking to capitalize on people's paranoia and confusion will tell you otherwise.



posted on Dec, 28 2005 @ 07:07 PM
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Odium... what "crime" are you referring to in this story?


There are several guidelines and GAO policies that restrict many government-sponsored websites from using cookies. However, non-compliance isn't a crime (the Army website writes cookies, for example).

[edit on 28/12/2005 by SkepticOverlord]




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