White House Updates Online Privacy Policy, Clarifies Data Guidelines

Apr 18, 2014 04:36 PM EDT | Jordan Ecarma


After a privacy policy reboot, the Obama administration has clarified that online comments left on WhiteHouse.gov are open domain.

The launched on Friday and details what happens to user data culled from WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media, reported.

The shift likely won't affect the everyday use of the WhiteHouse.gov site or other apps and sites, but users should now be aware of the metadata collected when they visit White House sites.

The administration stores "the date, time, and duration of online visits; the originating Internet Protocol address; how much data visitors transmit from WhiteHouse.gov to their computers; and more," according to the AP report.

The White House has vowed not to sell user data but noted that online comments, whether positive or negative, are public.

"Information you choose to share with the White House (directly and via third party sites) may be treated as public information," the new policy said.

Under President Obama, the White House's online engagement has leapt forward as the administration uses online platforms including We the People petitions as well as social media sites such as Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.

According to the new policy, the White House will retain some user information, including automatically generated email data, Mobile App use data, and some cookie data, through the end of the current administration.

In light of the NSA revelations last summer, privacy advocates have been on edge when it comes to the government and collected data from citizens.

While the White House privacy policy change received differing reviews from experts, one believes the shift only emphasizes the administration's interest in user data.

"You see it across the board," Mark Jaycox, a legislative analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, told the AP. "You saw it in the campaign. You see it in the White House petitions. This is just one more step toward amassing more information."

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