Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Obfuscate Repetition

Starting with Wired.

A powerful congressional committee is investigating a Transportation Security Administration website that promised to help air travelers caught up in terrorist watch lists, after a Wired News blog revealed that the site was potentially exposing user's personal information to eavesdroppers....

It was replaced this week by a completely different webpage offering the same service, but now called the Travel Redress Inquiry Program, or TRIP.

Like its flawed predecessor, the TRIP site is aimed at helping innocent travelers prone to being snared by government watchlists....

The new site eliminates all 15 problems pointed out by the Wired News blog 27bStroke6 last week....

The new TRIP site, however, is not without privacy issues. It places a tracking cookie labeled "Forsee Loyalty" in browsers of people using an Apple computer. Government websites are not supposed to use such cookies unless there is a good reason, and the head of the agency signs off on their use.

It turns out this "foreseeloyalty" cookie has popped up at other government websites in the past (see my del.icio.us tag link below for more details), but it's interesting to note that the current version only targets Apple users. Yes, I know that Steve Jobs went to Reed College and all, but are all Mac people automatically labeled as subversive? Is my daughter's iPod use being tracked in an FBI database?

I bet that this didn't originate with the government. It probably originated in corporate America, where product managers (heh) want to ensure that people stay loyal to a brand. (Hmm, perhaps the John Sculley Pepsi - Apple connection is relevant. And wasn't Sculley a Clinton supporter?)

Allow me to continue in my mad speculation on this topic.


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