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

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posted on Dec, 29 2005 @ 12:40 AM
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I think it's about time, the people of "We The People..." took back the things that are ours to begin with.

We need to stop letting them take things away, in the name of "National security". It's a sad sad World where everything can be taken away from us, by our Government, that we voted into office in the first place.

Nice avatar Odium. Is that an ODST, I see there?




posted on Dec, 29 2005 @ 01:02 AM
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Here's an excellent free program to manage one's cookies, among other useful tasks. You can set up a white list for places that store data you want sites to keep, as in the case of Amazon, memberships sites, IMDb, and the like.

www.ccleaner.com...



posted on Dec, 29 2005 @ 01:17 AM
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Grady that avatar is so.... I feel so.... I can't.... I am.....
What is your bidding master?



posted on Dec, 29 2005 @ 01:35 AM
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I'm going to have to jump on the non-story bandwagon as well..

I just don't see the cause for concern, cookies are virtually harmless in my opinion, with a few exceptions. There are tons of sites that have cookies, and not to mention any advertisements on sites that could also be loading cookies onto your computer too. I guess that's why there's the blatant Delete Cookies button.

And if you're still paranoid that the NSA is after you, how about refraining from visiting their website? The cookie wont install if you aren't there, or at least that's what they want me to think...

UO



posted on Dec, 29 2005 @ 08:37 AM
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Originally posted by twitchy
Hey guys, regardless of the very debatable functions of cookies, the fact remains that a Government Funded Agency, with the enigma we call the NSA has placed software, of any kind on your computer without your knowledge, disclosure of, consent,

Cookies are not software and the privacy policy of their site idicated cookies would be used.



Originally posted by twitchy
Cookies, while mostly harmless, can be scripted to relay information, they can redirect browsers, install software, run java scripts or any number of things.

Cookies cannot be scripted to do that at all. You're wrong or you've been misled by alarmist crap from unscrupulous "security" software firms.



Originally posted by twitchy
ATS also installs an Alexia related DOS application, and runs several third party scripts,

No we don't, this is a complete irresponsible lie.




Originally posted by SpartanKingLeonidas
We need to stop letting them take things away, in the name of "National security". It's a sad sad World where everything can be taken away from us, by our Government, that we voted into office in the first place.

It's just harmless cookies people!

Nothing is being "taken away".


If you haven't noticed by now... I take exceptionally serious issue with the massive amount of misinformation being distributed (and believed by some ATS members) about cookies, what they are, and what they can do. Nearly every anti-virus, anti-malware, and security software firm out there plays to people's paranoia and limited computer knowledge.

ATS members would be up-in-arms over any other corporation spreading disinformation about important topics... but apparently not in this case.

twitchy, I also take significant offense to your remark that we're involved with "denial of service" attacks and other "third party scripts". We have not and will not ever go there... and have taken proactive steps to prevent it. You're a regular disruptive element here, and in my mind, this lie about us is the most offensive yet.



posted on Dec, 29 2005 @ 08:41 AM
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I will say, SO doesn't get upset very often. When he does its a good idea to take the time to understand what he is saying, not just read over it and keep thinking exactly the same way.



posted on Dec, 29 2005 @ 08:43 AM
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Originally posted by SpittinCobra
I will say, SO doesn't get upset very often. When he does its a good idea to take the time to understand what he is saying, not just read over it and keep thinking exactly the same way.


Not to mention that there isn't anyone more qualified on ATS to discuss this matter.



posted on Dec, 29 2005 @ 08:53 AM
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Originally posted by intrepid


Not to mention that there isn't anyone more qualified on ATS to discuss this matter.


Hehe, I didn't think I needed to point it out.



posted on Dec, 29 2005 @ 09:40 AM
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Last I checked, Cookies are able to send information back on a routine basis - including where a user goes, if that are scripted correctly? [DoubleClick]

Now last I checked, all internet files go through the U.S. at the moment, and last I checked this wasn't a private agency but a Government agency. Now surely, if these were coded correctly, they could make a constant report?

I spent most of this morning looking over the Privacy Policy, as well as the link SkepticOverlord sent me, checking each one of the laws mentioned and so on and so fourth and the burning questions is:
Why remove them if they were fully legal?

If the Policy covered them, no laws were broken, I find it rather odd the N.S.A. who tend not to give a damn about Public Relations, would honestly remove them - however, if they were doing something against the law remove them and never mention it again - which is what they did...

Coupled with the fact, a BURST Media report showed less than 40% of people remove cookies a trend like this could be overly harmful.

Edit: Yeah, SpartanKingLeonidas, it is a HellJumper.
Glad someone noticed at last.

[edit on 29/12/2005 by Odium]



posted on Dec, 29 2005 @ 09:52 AM
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Originally posted by Odium
Last I checked, Cookies are able to send information back on a routine basis - including where a user goes, if that are scripted correctly? [DoubleClick]


I believe this is possible, but only on sites that have DoubleClick ads...if the NSA wanted to something similar, they'd have to have some type of ad or pixel bug etc. on every site they wanted to track.



Now last I checked, all internet files go through the U.S. at the moment, and last I checked this wasn't a private agency but a Government agency. Now surely, if these were coded correctly, they could make a constant report?


Not all Internet traffic goes through the U.S., I think you are confusing this with the U.S.'s continued ultimate control of Intenet root name servers.



I spent most of this morning looking over the Privacy Policy, as well as the link SkepticOverlord sent me, checking each one of the laws mentioned and so on and so fourth and the burning questions is:
Why remove them if they were fully legal?

If the Policy covered them, no laws were broken, I find it rather odd the N.S.A. who tend not to give a damn about Public Relations, would honestly remove them - however, if they were doing something against the law remove them and never mention it again - which is what they did...

Coupled with the fact, a BURST Media report showed less than 40% of people remove cookies a trend like this could be overly harmful.



I'm sure the people who run the NSA website really have nothing to do with the agency's real mission...they more or less are a PR/advertising arm of it. It's not like some people who spend their days decrypting military-strength encrypted messages and eavesdropping on satellite communications take off a few days each month to code some HTML. Comparing their intelligence operations and what they do with their public website is really laughable I think.



posted on Dec, 29 2005 @ 10:08 AM
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I think a few people are owed an apology.

There's a very simple rule I learned as a child. If you aren't familiar with a term don't profess to be an expert on it because you will unavoidably be made to look like a fool.

It is absolutely disgraceful for anyone to attack others when they are ignorant of the subject, especially accusing someone of computer attacks, vandalism and hacking.

If someone believes ATS does such things do us all a favor and don't type the address into your browser. This site and its 3 owners stand firmly against that sort of thing and everyone knows it.

This reminds me of the stupidity AOL's competitors spread in the mid 90s about how AOL uses "cookies" (same term, same idiots) to steal your credit card number and other info and send it to "hackers". Apparently some people still haven't gotten to the point of distinguishing fact from smear tactics. Maybe in the next 10 years...



posted on Dec, 29 2005 @ 10:41 AM
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For everyone with the "cookie fear" then I suggest some reading...

How Internet Cookies Work



Cookies are programs that Web sites put on your hard disk. They sit on your computer gathering information about you and everything you do on the Internet, and whenever the Web site wants to it can download all of the information the cookie has collected. [wrong]

Definitions like that are fairly common in the press. The problem is, none of that information is correct. Cookies are not programs, and they cannot run like programs do. Therefore, they cannot gather any information on their own. Nor can they collect any personal information about you from your machine.


Also another decent explaination site:
How to Understand Cookies

By actually know how cookies work, it becomes clear that they cannot do all the silly things they are reputed to do and certainly can't even come close to enacting some kind of DOS attack. That is one of the silliest notions put forth. It's like saying my cellphone could shutdown a city power grid. Ridiculous.



posted on Dec, 29 2005 @ 10:54 AM
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Originally posted by twitchy
ATS also installs an Alexia related DOS application, and runs several third party scripts, and this is just a discussion board, not the NSA.
politics.abovetopsecret.com...


Oh, and since you seem to be more toward accusations and less on the actual research side...here's some info which is from www.iMilly.com... (I put a bigger quote here than normal since some might be afraid to go there.)



Is Alexa spyware?

Well, no ... probably not. At least not if you haven't deliberately installed some of their software.

But Lavasoft's Ad-Aware identifies a standard registry key included with Internet Explorer as "Data Miner" spyware, with little or no further explanation, and offers to delete it. I hope this page offers a better explanation, and other alternatives to deletion. Spybot identifies it too, with more explanation, and they have a smarter strategy to deal with it (more below).

The issue is the 'Related Links' feature of IE (pre-XP SP2) which appears as the 'Tools'/'Show Related Links' menu item (and a corresponding toolbar button if you added it from the 'Customize...' link on the toolbar). If you use that feature, IE will contact the Alexa servers, via MSN, to obtain information about other web pages which seem to be related, open an Explorer Bar, and display those (plus adverts and whatnot). Go check the Alexa web site to see if you think that is a good idea (and, just to be clear, I think it's a very sucky idea), or just to double-check that you haven't deliberately or unintentionally or absent-mindedly installed some of their software.

And due to a bug in IE (versions prior to IE6 on XP SP2), you might even transmit (potentially sensitive) URL information if you reload pages long after you close the Explorer Bar, about (even secure HTTPS/SSL) pages for which you didn't request Related Links. More details at Note 4.

But if you don't use that menu or button, Alexa will not hear from you and no spying will take place.

Just to be clear, this feature is 'spyware', if you use it. If you do so, you will be sending information to MSN and Alexa obtained by spying, because there is nowhere that Microsoft adequately discloses and documents that privacy 'leak'. Sure, Alexa have some information on it, and a pretty clear privacy policy, but you don't get to know of Alexa's involvement until after you use the feature, and even then you have to hunt for it, and even then no mention is made of MSN's interstitial involvement. Don't blame Alexa though - it's Microsoft's responsibility to provide their users with complete and truthful disclosure - and they haven't.

But if you don't use it, it won't be spying on you behind your back, and you may sleep soundly. Here are some options :-

- You can let Ad-Aware delete it, with no harm done (though if you later repair, or patch or upgrade IE, it may get re-established).

- You can ignore the alert and leave it be, with no harm done.

- You can fiddle with it so that it just doesn't work (so that even if you, or someone else using your PC, accidentally tries it, it won't contact Alexa).

- Or you can fiddle with it so that it uses Google to find related links, instead of Alexa. See the instructions and security warning below



Yes, it's true. Alexia is the run-of-the-mill spyware which I am sure didn't come from ATS. How do I know? I am a web person. It's my job and in addition to being paranoid, I have been on ATS for 2 years at least 8 hours every freaking day (average) using Explorer, Firefox and recently Safari. The ONLY spyware I have ever had to fight is from sites like Disney and such which my kids get.

In fact, my laptop has never had any spyware at all.

So next time, before you accuse try doing some research. I guess in this matter I could only say....you're so far behind that you THINK you're in first place.

[edit on 29-12-2005 by ZeddicusZulZorander]



posted on Dec, 29 2005 @ 11:09 AM
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Maybe I made a mistake then, but the way I had the Internet described to me was rather simple.

Your P.C. connects to a network, downloads* the information to your computer and then displays it to you. However, most of these Networks are then connected up to other networks and so on and so fourth, basically you have to go through a relay system like you do with phones. [Think old switch-board style].

Now, I was always under the impression the highest level - like with phones, is controlled through Government Networks and if a cookie is set to report to these networks, they can easily be sent to report all traffic from one user.

I spent a few hours reading over several sites, and this is the impression I have gotten, sorry if I made a mistake on the information I have at hand.

* I use the term lightly.

Edit: As far as I was aware, there was one advert on ATS that tried to install something but Skeptic got rid of it as soon as he found out?

[edit on 29/12/2005 by Odium]



posted on Dec, 29 2005 @ 12:50 PM
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Originally posted by Odium
Last I checked, Cookies are able to send information back on a routine basis - including where a user goes, if that are scripted correctly? [DoubleClick]

Yes and no. If DoubleClick or other ad-serving networks write a cookie, only the domain writing the cookie can read the cookie... that is... DoubleClick. However, if an ad on ATS is served by FastClick (one of our providers), FastClick can remember that you were on ATS when you hit another domain with fast click ads.

This means that cookies do not track your domains, but network-based ad servers can use cookies to remember what domains you visited when serving you ads. Cookies do not do this by default, and the host site (ATS) cannot read the ad-network cookies.



Originally posted by Odium
Now last I checked, all internet files go through the U.S. at the moment,

No they don't. Where did you hear this?



Originally posted by Odium
Why remove them if they were fully legal?

Because the method (new persistent cookies) were in non-compliance with Federal mandates... not laws. They would be in compliance if their posted privacy policy indicated persistent cookies were being used... but it did not.



posted on Dec, 29 2005 @ 02:36 PM
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With the NSA cookie they can only track people on websites which can identify or "read" that particular cookie, which means those websites must be cooperating with the NSA. The cookie isn't a program or anything. It doesn't send anything back to NSA if you visit some random website.
It's quite harmless in this particular case.


[edit on 29/12/2005 by SwearBear]



posted on Dec, 30 2005 @ 05:37 PM
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Further agenda driven AP/media hypocrisy?
Try these"


ADDENDUM: Just for grins, here's a partial list of cookies that the Exempt Media has placed on my computer:

Cookie ........................................................... Expires

ads.guardian.co.uk ....................................... 12/30/2037
ads.telegraph.co.uk ...................................... 12/30/2037
adserver.tribuneinteractive.com ................... 12/30/2037
adsremote.scripps.com ................................ 12/30/2037
ap.org ........................................................... 09/23/2021
bbc.co.uk ...................................................... 11/21/2009
cnn.com ........................................................ 05/27/2010
foxnews.com ............................................... 12/31/2010
gannettnetwork.com .................................... 12/31/2010
latimes.com .................................................. 12/15/2010
msnbc.msn.com ........................................... 11/04/2021
nytimes.com ....................................... 10/06/2021
usatoday.com .............................................. 12/31/2025
washingtontimes.com .................................. 01/17/2038

It's a damned good thing that the Exempt Media -- especially the AP, the New York Times, and the Guardian -- have so much concern about my privacy.

Milking Cookies





seekerof



posted on Dec, 30 2005 @ 06:54 PM
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Originally posted by Seekerof
Further agenda driven AP/media hypocrisy?


I have no idea what this means... clarify?



posted on Dec, 30 2005 @ 07:23 PM
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Media agenda=to further [milking] the uproar over the Bush-NSA surveillance programs.
Media hypocrisy=their own media sites place 'cookies' on your computer, just as the NSA site does, while proclaiming the protection of privacy rights.
Media should practice what it attempts to preach.





seekerof

[edit on 30-12-2005 by Seekerof]



posted on Dec, 30 2005 @ 08:38 PM
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Hey guys, regardless of the very debatable functions of cookies, the fact remains that a Government Funded Agency, with the enigma we call the NSA has placed software, of any kind on your computer without your knowledge, disclosure of, consent,


Yeah, so do the news sites that reported this story!




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