White House Drug Office and Internet Cookies

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by NdicaBud, Mar 22, 2002.

  1. Some may find this an interesting read....

    Media Awareness Project

    US: Wire: WH Drug Office Tracks Web Visitors
    URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v00.n848.a02.html
    Newshawk: Sanho Tree
    Pubdate: Wed, 21 Jun 2000
    Source: Scripps Howard News Service
    Copyright: 2000 Scripps Howard
    Author: Lance Gay

    White House Drug Office Tracks Computer Visitors

    WASHINGTON - The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy has taken its anti-drug message to the Internet, and it is secretly tracking those who find it in the process.

    Search for drug terms like "grow pot" on some Internet sites, and an ad banner that pops up from the drug office may drop a "cookie" program in your computer that tracks your online activities.

    "It's sort of spooky," said Internet consultant Richard Smith, a privacy advocate and former software engineer.

    But despite what one critic called "Big Brother" tactics, the White House drug office says there's nothing surreptitious going on. The computer cookies are simply tracking its anti-drug media campaign.

    "Cookies" are personal identifiers used to track the Web sites that computer users visit and what they buy. They identify Internet surfers by the service they are using to get access to the Internet, and can be matched with other information online to provide personal identification. Cookies are secretly inserted in personal computers when surfers visit certain Web sites.

    Smith said he inadvertently discovered the U.S. government cookies being dropped into his computer while doing Internet research for pharmaceutical companies.

    White House ads offering information on marijuana pop up when Internet users search for certain words connected to drugs on Internet search engines like AltaVista or Lycos. The banner ads steer users to the anti-drug site Freevibe.com, which is operated by the White House drug office. A tracking cookie is inserted in the user's personal computer as the site is activated.

    Although Freevibe's privacy notice states that "no information, including your e-mail address, will be sold or distributed to any other organization," the site is connected Doubleclick.com. Officials of Doubleclick, a New York advertising firm that is one of the largest companies gathering data on Internet user use, told the Senate Commerce Committee last week it is developing new products that will profile more than 40 million Internet users.

    Freevibe's site says the White House drug office will collect the e-mail address "only so we can identify your submission." It does not disclose that it will drop a cookie program in the personal computers of visitors to the site.

    Donald Maple, senior policy analyst with the White House drug office, said the cookie programs are part of the banner advertising campaign run through the New York advertising firm Ogilvie and Mather. He said the government is not getting personal information on visitors to the site.

    "We have a specific agreement with Ogilvie and Mather that they will not provide personal identification," Maple said. He said the advertising company uses the data to determine which banner ads are effective, and to tailor the ads to attract more visitors.

    Maple admitted one of the anti-drug sites operated by the White House drug office and visited by 240,000 parents a month seeking information on drug abuse is itself inserting cookies into the computers of visitors. He said the drug office did not know this until a reporter pointed it out, and Tuesday ordered the contractor to disable the program.

    "We didn't know it was there," Maple said. "It won't be shortly."

    Gary Towning, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy account at Ogilvie and Mather, said the use of cookies started only this month "to help us better understand if the (ad) banners are driving people to our site." He said the advertising firm has also bought the rights to link the drug office's ads with several words typed in on search engines, including the word "pot."

    "We're not tracking individuals. There's nothing identifying here,'' he said. "We're trying to understand our media campaign."

    Civil liberties lawyers said government tracking of Internet users could raise constitutional questions involving issues of searches without a warrant, and questioned why the government is monitoring citizen's Internet activities.

    "This is nothing like what was envisioned by members of Congress," said Eric Sterling, former counsel to the House Judiciary Committee. Sterling worked with the panel in 1988 when it drafted the law creating the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy to coordinate the government's anti-drug-use policies.

    "This is what is fairly called a case of Big Brother, you know as in '1984' where the government is clandestinely tracking you," said Sterling, now president of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation lobbying group.

    Maple rejected concerns of civil liberties lawyers.

    "I can't see anything wrong with it at all,'' he said, adding that the Internet is an ideal technology to reach young people with anti-drug messages.

  2. This is creepy as hell im going to delete all my cookies now. =)

  3. deleted cookies and changed some security features before i finishe reading this damn article.
    Educate yourself and
    Vote Its the most important thing to do for yourself and your country.
  4. there is somthing so wrong about that. BAD, bad, bad cookies!
    this brings to mind (sorta) the issue about that child porno website, that was ordered to give names and adresses of their 10,000 registered users. PERVERTS in my opinion. but i suppose someone outthere might call me DRUGGIE(tho my best drugs come from the dr. :) ) is druggie even a term anymore?lol)
    is there a line? where would it stop? would it even stop????
    an,..whats a cookie?....hehe just jokin
    spose its been awhile better delete some of those meself.
  5. ahhhh. this is good (he says trying on his new "see good in bad" attitude), its another bit of evidence (maybe circumstantial) that corporations and governments are acting ilegally, outside their very own rules, constitutions, and acts.

    they will fall. one day, they will fall.

    ***Please, oh please, wise beings from another world, another solar system, transport me to a field of wild mushrooms and cannabis, far beneath the stars, warm night sky, faint glow on the horrizon... ...grrr stuck in da city again. It just feels all way too close to 'them'.
  6. I thought you cant delete all of your cookies that their hidden on your computer so if thats true im screwed
  7. deleting your cookies isn't going to do anything your comp keeps a backup of every thing you ever look at or download or whatever on your computer so good luck
  8. how do i get to this index.dat
  9. .

    Attached Files:

  10. that's fucked up. america's screwed up....
    if i was computer literate, i'd be chaning security stuff and gettin rid of cookies... i don't even have any idea what cookies are...
  11. n/m deleted the index.dat for cookies
  12. Another programs thats great for shit like this is Ad-Aware. Its a free program that deletes all spy-ware on your computer. Even in your regerities.
  13. cookies, computers, this is shit u people! i went in and turned off all cookies when i read it, but then remembered that our freedom is dieing away anyway. law enforcement can now arrest for the fuck of it. that sounds like CIA operatives to me. i hope that somewhere on this Earth, there will still be a safe place to live as time goes. i have always looked forward to adulthood until this morning. this is disgusting. ive never felt so much that there is nothing out there.


    be it the middle east fuckers that never listen to McCartney, or the world that thinks cannabis is anything but sacred!



    this world is too sad to live in................
  14. Those of you still concerned with cookies with priority being left on your computer or not being cleaned by your browsers processes, check on this free tool on download.com

    Called CleanUp! Its pretty effective at removing cookies and temporary internet files.

    CleanUp - Free software downloads and software reviews - CNET Download.com


    edit. Be careful it'll delete favorites/bookmarks if you tell it to.
  15. Fuck them.

    I could careless what I read online.

    America does not own the net I can legally look up whatever the fuck I want.
  16. It does as far as the government is concerned.
  17. First post: 03-21-2002, 10:35 PM
    What the shit?

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