White House Web Site Stops Using YouTube-Embedded Video - InformationWeek

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3/2/2009
07:39 PM
K.C. Jones
K.C. Jones
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White House Web Site Stops Using YouTube-Embedded Video

The White House stopped embedding YouTube videos on its Web site. Videos featuring U.S. President Barack Obama initially used long-term cookies to track blog visitors, whether or not they watched the video.

The White House stopped embedding YouTube videos on its Web site. Videos featuring U.S. President Barack Obama initially used long-term cookies to track blog visitors, whether or not they watched the video.After privacy advocates complained about YouTube tracking citizens because they had sought public information from their government, the White House Web site stopped tracking users who had not watched the videos.

Now, Google can't track any visitors who view government videos on the White House Web site because the videos, which require Adobe Flash Player 10, load directly from the administration's own servers.

The move occurred after privacy advocates wrote the White House legal counsel requesting all information related to the administration's initial decision to waive a prohibition on the use of cookies. While the White House Web site's privacy policy stated that some cookies would be used to maintain the integrity of video statistics, privacy advocates pointed out that YouTube generally makes broader use of the information for a wide variety of purposes, including research and marketing.

The White House changed the video-delivery system to an Akamai media player platform without any explanation as to why. So it's not clear whether the change is permanent or was in response to complaints about privacy.

The move came just after Google took steps to improve privacy protections of those viewing YouTube-embedded videos on government Web sites.

The White House didn't completely dissolve its use of YouTube for citizen outreach. Its videos are still available through YouTube's White House channel.

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