YouTube Loses Cookies For Gov Video Viewing

Faced with continuing privacy complaints, YouTube has agreed to change its procedures for clips posted by the Obama administration.

The site no longer stores information on cookies about people's viewing of clips embedded on, the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation announced this week.

"This is a good step and we commend YouTube and the government for taking it. It shows that they recognize that tracking the government videos that Americans view is creepy and wrong," the EFF said in a blog post. "It also shows that Google/YouTube technologists can build and offer clever, useful privacy-protective modifications to their standard software."

The decision comes several few months after the EFF criticized the Obama administration's use of YouTube. The EFF argued that people should be able to watch Obama's speeches and other clips on without being tracked.

Since 2000, the federal government has more or less followed a no-cookie policy. Current practice is to avoid setting persistent cookies without approval by an agency secretary. Google's YouTube sets persistent cookies, including hard-to-delete "flash" cookies, on the computers of people who stream clips.

While the EFF praised YouTube's decision to stop tracking viewers at, the group also renewed calls for increased privacy protections. "Google/YouTube should offer this same 'tracking-free' viewing to others," the group said. "Human rights videos, politically sensitive videos, or even ordinary videos where viewers may want privacy should all be available without tracking."

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