"The goal of this review is to develop a new policy that allows the federal government to continue to protect the privacy of people who visit federal Web sites while, at the same time, making these Web sites more user-friendly, providing better customer service, and allowing for enhanced Web analytics," wrote Vivek Kundra, federal chief information officer, and Michael Fitzpatrick, associate administrator in the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
Since 2000, federal agencies have not been allowed to use persistent cookies without clearance by an agency head. "In the ensuing time, cookies have become a staple of most commercial Web sites with widespread public acceptance of their use," state Kundra and Fitzpatrick. "For example, every time you use a 'shopping cart' at an online store, or have a Web site remember customized settings and preferences, cookies are being used."
Earlier this year, groups including the think tank Future of Privacy Forum and digital rights organization Center for Democracy & Technology proposed that the White House should loosen restrictions on cookies.