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

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posted on Dec, 30 2005 @ 08:43 PM
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Originally posted by Seekerof
Media hypocrisy=their own media sites place 'cookies' on your computer, just as the NSA site does, while proclaiming the protection of privacy rights.


Is this more "cookie confusion"? I can't tell.

There are few websites that don't write cookies... are you aware of this?




posted on Dec, 30 2005 @ 09:00 PM
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Everything that SO is stating about cookies is correct. I think the leading site admin knows a lot more about this sort of thing then most of us here. Cookies are easily managed by programs pointed out in this thread. And users with beginner to amateur computer knowledge know how easy it is to get rid of cookies, block, and control the cookies on your computer.

Here is a link to a program I use to manage and filter cookies. It also has similar options and functions to msconfig (which can be run in your start menu).

www.winpatrol.com...

As SO stated cookies are on almost every site you visit nowadays. This whole NSA cookies thing is being blown out of proportion and fueled by our paranoia lol.

[edit on 12-30-2005 by CPYKOmega]



posted on Dec, 30 2005 @ 09:07 PM
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Originally posted by kenshiro2012
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.


Carnivore was a glorified packet sniffer. Most networks use packet sniffers to moniter traffic and trouble shoot. Most people don't understand without the ISP's cooperation the F.B.I. couldn't set Carnivore up and just start spying. They needed the IP address of the preson suspected and had to set up a network isolation device. Carnivore looks for packets protocols such as Simple Mail Transfer Protocal SMTP. Anyways Carnivore is outdated and discarded for more advanced methods of electronic surveillance.



posted on Dec, 30 2005 @ 09:09 PM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
There are few websites that don't write cookies... are you aware of this?

Yes sir, I am.
I do thank you for the clarification that you have given thus far.
My frustration is with the media, and perhaps I am overly attempting to drag the media and its agenda thru this 'cookie' milking issue.
I will restrict my attempts to the proper political forum.




seekerof



posted on Dec, 30 2005 @ 09:41 PM
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Originally posted by Seekerof
My frustration is with the media, and perhaps I am overly attempting to drag the media and its agenda thru this 'cookie' milking issue.

The media's "agenda" is to attract significant audience so that advertising revenue will generate profits. Some "media channels" cater to one side of the political fence, some to the other... this is where the regular eyeballs come from.

The reality of the cookie issue in this story is a non-starter. The sensationalism value, however, has been amazing.



posted on Dec, 30 2005 @ 10:00 PM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
The media's "agenda" is to attract significant audience so that advertising revenue will generate profits.


This is true with all news outlets.

Ask yourself, what is the number one purpose of a newspaper? Some will say to give an even perspective of the news, others will say it to entertain, some will say its to provide the latest sports updates.

All of those are wrong.

The number one purpose of a newspaper is to turn a profit. If it doesn't turn a profit it cannot stay in business. This FACT is a part of every news bit that you hear.

Love and light,

Wupy



posted on Dec, 31 2005 @ 02:20 AM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
You're a regular disruptive element here, and in my mind, this lie about us is the most offensive yet.

ThisLie? ...Regular Disruptive element, eh? What precisely are you refering to? My remark about denial of service?
As to the Dos Application,

Originally posted by SkepticOverlord

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.


Well my apologies if it is indeed a 'lie' rather than a misinterpretation of the following which was never really adequetely explained when I first asked about it.

Originally posted by twitchy
Any idea what this is?
xslt.alexa.com...
which is listed as a MS-DOS Application
in my temporary internet files. C:\Documents and Settings\YOURNAME\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files
Is this something we should know about, or a problem with my computer? You guys take a look into your directories and see if you have the same thing...
C:\Documents and Settings\YOURNAME\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files

As to third party scripts, yes man, ATS does run third party scripts, unless you mean to tell me you wrote the "Catch a Fly and Win a Free PSP" and other interractive Banner Advertisements which appear on ATS.
Your outrage is duly noted however, and I apologise if I have seemed to you to be a liar or such a disruptive element. To be perfecty honest I am not particulalry fond of you either. But this is a community, and like any other community, there is bound to be discord from time to time. However, on a personal note, I come to this site to read and discuss, debate, and share information that I feel is interesting and worthy of open discussion. I have been doing so for some time now and I have devoted a great deal of time and effort in particpating here, to which I would add in no uncertain terms that I may indeed be ignorant of the functions of cookies and DOS applications, but I am not a liar sir, nor do I care to be insinuated to be as such. And I really don't understand what you are in such a huff about honestly, if I had a serious problem with the way this site was run, I wouldn't be here.

Edit:
And about those cookies... Privacy Tab in Internet Properties has an option to block what are commonly known as "profiling cookies" "persistent cookies" "long term tracking cookies" "third party tracking cookies" " 1st Party Cookies" or "tracking cookies." Also cookies can be retrieved by a site other than the one that originally set them on your system. Even Microsoft says that some cookies "track your behavior online and control what kind of cookies Internet Explorer can accept without your explicit consent."

[edit on 31-12-2005 by twitchy]



posted on Dec, 31 2005 @ 10:15 AM
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After reading through all of this, I am still amazed that since it is/was the government and it is/could be/might have/will have done the "cookie" thing, everyone is screaming ...yet no one ever seems to care that private companies do it all the time....if we made this much uproar when a private company does it as we do when the "government" does it then maybe the internet would be what it was intended to be.
According to this article, cookies "cold be" the reason I get email at an address that I haver never given out except to a couple of members....

archives.cnn.com...

First, let me be clear, I AM NOT accusing anyone on this site, it's administrators or the site itself. I am simply curious as to how I emailed MYSELF something that I never wrote, as you can see in the below image

files.abovetopsecret.com...

If you look at my inbox I have 76 unread messages....all junk mail....how? I never use this email except to email a couple of members here (and NO I am not accusing them of anything)

Just curious and I apologize if this takes away from the main theme of the thread.


Mod Edit: image to restore thread format


[edit on 31-12-2005 by kinglizard]



posted on Dec, 31 2005 @ 11:38 AM
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Originally posted by NetStorm
If you look at my inbox I have 76 unread messages....all junk mail....how? I never use this email except to email a couple of members here (and NO I am not accusing them of anything)

I've studied spam and spammers, and have served on a few anti-spam advisory boards.

First, your problem is not cookie related. Most likely you sent an email to someone with a malware/trojan that harvested email addresses from their inbox and sent them to a master database. This is the #1 way all email addresses are discovered by spammers.

Second, spammers utilize sophisticated software that use several methods to push spam through anti-spam filtering systems. Among the most common is to use the recipient email address as a "reply to" address. If you look at the header data of the email, you'll see that the source was not your account... but the "reply to" is.

Cookies and spam are unrelated.



posted on Dec, 31 2005 @ 11:59 AM
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Originally posted by twitchy
Regular Disruptive element, eh? What precisely are you refering to? My remark about denial of service?

Yes... don't play coy. You seem to salivate over opportunities to critique the operation and management of ATS. And yes, an irresponsible comment about our involvement with an organized denial of service effort is a recent example.



Originally posted by twitchy
Any idea what this is?
xslt.alexa.com...
which is listed as a MS-DOS Application
in my temporary internet files. C:\Documents and Settings\YOURNAME\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files
Is this something we should know about, or a problem with my computer?

Do you even bother to do your own very simple research at all? Or, do you prefer to sling accusations for the fun of it?
Just visit: www.alexa.com...
It's a subsidiary of Amazon that does a number of things, including providing data on relative website ranking. The file you're referring to is a cookie, from Alexa that was written by the Alexa Javascript on a few of our pages.

What is it about my response in your original thread:
politics.abovetopsecret.com...
that did not address this? Back then... I showed how it was not a denial of service tool.

Oh... I forgot... you'd rather ignore facts and have some fun throwing irresponsible accusations around.



As to third party scripts, yes man, ATS does run third party scripts, unless you mean to tell me you wrote the "Catch a Fly and Win a Free PSP" and other interractive Banner Advertisements which appear on ATS.

Those are Flash ad banners. Not "third party scripts", a term commonly used to describe malicious cross-site scripting hacks and attacks (especially when used in the same sentence as "denial of service" attacks).



I may indeed be ignorant of the functions of cookies and DOS applications,

Then why toss around irresponsible accusations based on false assumptions obtained through a lack of information? Oh... because you enjoy it... that's why.


I (and others here) have made, and continue to make ATS a highly reliable online community managed with a high standard of ethics. I have and will take serious issues with those who seem to ignore facts, truth, and logic to have a little fun and spreading false information about us. I will take it personally, and I will call it a lie when someone spreads false information after being presented with the truth.


(typo fix)

[edit on 1-1-2006 by SkepticOverlord]



posted on Dec, 31 2005 @ 12:33 PM
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SkepticOverlord, I will get back to your points as soon as I can, I did post after the first one and attempted to clear up what I meant by something said.

Here is something, I found today though:

Source
Cookies are not generated simply by visiting the White House site. Rather, WebTrends cookies are sometimes created when visiting other WebTrends clients. An analysis by security researcher Richard M. Smith shows such preexisting cookies have then been read when users visit the White House site.


The actual company the White House uses, wasn't their own servers and was tracking people across various websites - although they deny such a thing happened.



posted on Dec, 31 2005 @ 02:22 PM
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First of all, the source that you're quoting claims that the web site was counting the number of visitors anonymously. That being said I don't see how they're tracking people accross different websites. I'm no expert but my guess is that they just simply use what little data they obtain to see something like what other websites people visit that also visit the White House's website, something you will also notice being done on some shopping sites ("Other items people that purchased this item have purchased..." or whatever).

Secondly, according to your source, the web bugs that the White House was using on their site are NOT prohibited.

Given this information, if you're still scared or concerned that government agencies are tracking web usage through cookies, etc....just disable them, it's fairly easy to do.



posted on Dec, 31 2005 @ 03:59 PM
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Originally posted by Odium
Here is something, I found today though:

Source
Cookies are not generated simply by visiting the White House site. Rather, WebTrends cookies are sometimes created when visiting other WebTrends clients.



Did you bother to discover what WebTrends is?
www.webtrends.com...

It's a remote-host website traffic analysis tool. It's cookies are used to give traffic reports on websites. Typically, sites will use these 3rd party software tools when their servers are so high-traffic, normal log files become a load on the servers. CoreMetrics, Omniture, Webside Story, Google Metrics (Urchin), etc. are all of the same ilk.

These traffic analysis tools do not use any personal identifiers, and occasionally aggregate data across all client sites for broad web stats (like popular browsers, operating systems, etc.).

Why is it so difficult to accept that cookies are harmless?



posted on Dec, 31 2005 @ 04:10 PM
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SkepticOverlord, I did do a bit of research and the articles I found were along the lines of this one: www.wirelessnewsfactor.com...



WebTrends said the latest enhancements to its visitor tracking program will give marketers the information about customer acquisition costs and shopping cart abandonment that they need to improve sales.


and...



WebTrends also unveiled its new eMarketing Server, an e-mail campaign manager designed to provide targeted communication to Web site visitors and customers.



posted on Dec, 31 2005 @ 05:18 PM
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Correct...

I don't see how that information relates?



posted on Jan, 1 2006 @ 05:13 PM
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I have read this entire thread and one thing seems to be obvious.

Is it that the US Gov't by way of the ultra-wicked NSA is secretly watching our internet lives?

No, what is obvious that some people allow personal pride to get in the way of sound thinking and truth, thus demonstrating the futility of reasoning with one who's mind is closed.

The expression, "beating a dead horse..." comes to mind here.

The real story here is that the NY Times, whether for political reasons or simple sensationalism has been caught (by ATS members) doing exactly what it accuses the NSA of doing... Hypocrisy in action.

If I could give "applause" in this forum as the Mods do, I would applaud the ATS members who brought this to light. This is what ATS is all about.



posted on Jan, 1 2006 @ 06:53 PM
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Originally posted by intelgurl
The real story here is that the NY Times, whether for political reasons or simple sensationalism has been caught (by ATS members) doing exactly what it accuses the NSA of doing... Hypocrisy in action.

Actually, an Associated Press "computer correspondent" initiated the story. Many outlets ran it, including the NYT.

But in reality, it's a non-story. There is no "hypocrisy" at all as cookies are not a vehicle for invading privacy or tracking identifiable individuals across multiple domains. You'll be hard-pressed to find a website that does not write a cookie or two.

The real story that continues to escape ATS members is the fallacy being created by so-called computer security consultants that seek to capitalize on paranoia and moderate computer illiteracy. They will seek to sell you cookie-erasing software, cookie-centric privacy "sweepers", and classify cookies as malware in anti-virus scans. And... even the fine members of ATS are fooled.



posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 07:32 AM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord

Originally posted by twitchy
Any idea what this is?
xslt.alexa.com...
which is listed as a MS-DOS Application

What is it about my response in your original thread:
politics.abovetopsecret.com...
that did not address this? Back then... I showed how it was not a denial of service tool.


Well... with a lack of response (perhaps embarrassed?), it seems twitchy really was mostly interested in disruption and tossing baseless barbs.

Anyway...

More media fodder today:


C|NET News.com.com
Sixty-six politicians in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are setting permanent Web cookies even though at least 23 of them have promised not to use the online tracking technique, a CNET News.com investigation shows.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, for instance, has been a longtime advocate of strict privacy laws to restrict commercial Web sites' data collection practices. In a statement posted on his own Web site, McCain assures visitors that "I do not use 'cookies' or other means on my Web site to track your visit in any way."


Even the "technology media" has jumped on this bandwagon of creating cookie paranoia.

Before anyone jumps up and says "SEE! COOKIES REALLY ARE BAD!", most of CNET has a stake in perpetuating computer security myths like "cookies can track you". This is a fine example of slanted media horrifically slanting a story for the sake of attention, traffic, and resulting revenue. It's not news, it's content.



posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 02:13 PM
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An excellent blog entry form a well-respected technical Guru sheds some additional light on these stories:



Forta.co m -- CNet News.com Writers Demonstrate Desire For Sensationalism And Poor Technical Understanding

This is yet another alarmist article, decrying the presence of cookies without any explanation of what they are used for and what is stored in them. Blanket statements about cookies are irresponsible. But that is not my real concern here. The bigger issue is ColdFusion, cookies, and "30 year" persistence.

and...
Forta.com -- CNet News.com Sensationalism And Fearmongering, Part II

Apparently CNet's News.com staff writers Declan McCullough and Anne Broache just can't resist the lure of sensationalism and fearmongering. After yesterday's blatantly inaccurate and highly inflammatory Government Web sites are keeping an eye on you (which undoubtedly generated lots of page views and thus advertising revenue for CNet), they followed up today with Part 2 entitled Congress' hands caught in the cookie jar.
The highlight of the story (complete with a high impact icon) is this: "Although they have promised to abstain from using cookies to track visits to their Web sites, at least 23 U.S. senators do so. Overall, 66 members of Congress use the tracking devices."


And, we can certainly see c|net News.com's motivation for generating false fear and hysteria around cookies:
www.download.com...

Download.com is part of c|net and many of the "spyware" tools available on their site classify cookies as spyware.



posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 04:16 PM
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Money Mongering

What? You mean the same people who are making dishonest, alarmist claims about an open-source technology that anyone in the world who knows how to read can learn the truth about are also the same people who make money lying about it?


Perish the thought!


Why, only a "conspiracy theorist whacko" would believe people would stoop so low for money.



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