Feeds

Court considers cooking cookies' book

US citizen sues US city for refusing to reveal cookie contents

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

In a bizarre case in a federal court, the secrecy of cookie files has become an issue. The case concerns the US Freedom of Information Act right for the public to access government-held information. Some 80 miles east of Nashville, Tennessee, Geoffrey Davidian, who produces an online newsletter called The Putnam Pit, has sued the City of Cookeville after it refused him the right to examine cookie files on the City's PCs. Davidian's purpose, he says, is to find out whether city employees had been accessing non-work-related sites (ie. porn) at local taxpayers' expense. The City has just won the first round, since the federal judge granted a summary judgement against Davidian, but he says he will appeal because his First Amendment rights have been violated. The wider issue is whether cookie files, which record details of some Web sites visited and any user preferences or search patterns stored there, should be treated like itemised phone bills, which are in the public domain at all levels of government in Tennessee. So far this has not been resolved in the courts, but if it were, it presents a potent weapon. The case serves to draw attention to other files that could be important legally. Such a list would include swap files, any list of Web sites visited, and bookmarks. It is not unknown for a hard disk to be dumped around the time of an employee leaving, or as a random check of employee loyalty. It's an issue that is not going to go away. Oh yes, the cookies are in cookies.txt... ® Click for more stories

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.