White House Says Web Site Counts Visitors
From Yahoo news:
NEW YORK - The White House said Friday its Web tracking technology is consistent with federal rules because it only counts the number of visitors anonymously and doesn't record personal information.
The White House's site uses what's known as a Web bug — a tiny graphic image that's virtually invisible — to anonymously keep track of the number and time of visits. The bug is sent by a server maintained by an outside contractor, WebTrends Inc., and lets the traffic-analysis company know that another person has visited a specific page on the site.
Web bugs themselves are not prohibited. However, under a directive from the White House's Office of Management and Budget, they are largely banned at government sites when linked to cookies, which are data files that let a site track Web visitors.
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.(more)