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NSA uses computer cookies to track visitors
CNet News
NSA catches heat over cookies
December 29, 2005

Officials of the National Security Agency this week acknowledged that the agency had been placing persistent cookies on the computers of people who visited its Web site and that it has since ceased the practice.

The NSA said Wednesday that the use of the cookies was accidental, the result of a recent software upgrade, according to the Associated Press. "After being tipped to the issue, we immediately disabled the cookies," an agency spokesman said.

The spy organization also uses other, more short-lived cookies--small files that keep a record of Web sites people visit--that disappear when a person closes the browser window being used and that are permissible under federal regulations, the AP story said. Those that are not deleted immediately are banned for the most part; the NSA's persistent cookies were not set to expire until 2035.

Earlier this month, the NSA became embroiled in a separate controversy when The New York Times reported that the agency had been engaged in widespread eavesdropping on U.S. citizens.

Posted by Jonathan Skillings

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