And the Obama administration is doing just what any IT, security and privacy leaders should do: figure out how to provide both. In a White House blog posted Tuesday, federal CIO Vivek Kundra and Michael Fitzpatrick, Office of Management and Budget associate administrator for information and regulatory affairs, wrote that cookies - a small piece of browser software that tracks and authenticates web viewing activities by users - present a challenge the government is trying to navigate:
Persistent cookies are very useful as an indirect feedback mechanism for measuring effectiveness of government web sites.
"One person put it all together. 'Persistent cookies are very useful as an indirect feedback mechanism for measuring effectiveness of government web sites...Cookies allow a greater level of accuracy in measuring unique visitors...Being able to look at returning visitors allows us to see what content is important to our citizens. We can use that data to improve the content and navigation of our sites.'"
It's encouraging to hear government officials seeing IT security and privacy challenges as just that: a challenge to conquer and not a barrier from exploiting the advantages technologies furnish.