Google, YouTube, and DoubleClick Cookies Placed on Users of YouTube’s new Congress Channels, Says Computer Scientist

Columbia U computer professor Steven M. Bellovin has an important post on the privacy issues raised by YouTube’s new House and Senate channels.  He writes [excerpt, our emphasis] that:

“I opened a fresh web browser, with no cookies stored, and went directly to the House site. Just from that page, I ended up with cookies from YouTube, Google, and DoubleClick, another Google subsidiary. Why should Google know which members of Congress I’m interested in? Do they plan to correlate political viewing preferences with, say, searches I do on guns, hybrid cars, religion, privacy, etc.?

The incoming executive branch has made the same mistake: President-Elect Obama’s videos on are also hosted on (among others) YouTube. Nor does the privacy policy say anything at all about 3rd-party cookies.

Video channels providing the public access to members of Congress and the new Administration should be in the forefront of privacy protection-and not serve as a data collection shill for any company.  Nor should one company be permitted to shape broadband video access to federal officials.

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.

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