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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

NSA Cookies – Bumbling Stupidity?

Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, December 30, 2005
2:38 am

The announcement that the NSA used persistent cookies on their web site reminds me of a phrase I saw on in a worker’s cubicle at Alcoa many years ago, “Intelligence, even if artificial, is preferable to stupidity, no matter how genuine.”

Sounds like we have a case of bumbling stupidity here, not a calculated effort to spy on us all.

But, of course, we could take the popular position that the NSA is a subversive organization trying to undermine the populace. But if we take that position, we must acknowledge the Cookie Monster is an NSA undercover operative.



3 Responses to “NSA Cookies – Bumbling Stupidity?”

    “I am shocked, shocked, shocked to find gambling at this establishement”
    “Your winnings, sir”
    CNN (and others) are reporting on this as a significant privacy violation while at the same time offering up their own persistant cookies…

    Comment by Bill on December 30, 2005 at 6:09 am

    Yep! Very stupid of the NSA to illegally use persistent cookies. I’d just like to know if it was a conscious violation or just some dumb web designer who wasn’t smart enough to ask if it was okay. I suspect the latter. Still very embarrassing and inept.

    Comment by Mark Dixon on December 30, 2005 at 7:17 am

    Why would a malicious individual go to the NSA’s website in the first place?

    Second, shouldn’t a spy be smart enough to delete the cookies after the visiting the NSA site?

    I am more concered with Google using cookies than the NSA.

    Dec 31 2035 is the 32-bit UNIX rollover date. At one time, that was the latest date for a cookie most web servers supported. How do we know this date was not a default date for cookies on the NSA’s webserver? I have seen lots of cookies in my browser with a 2035 expiration.

    I think this is much ado about nothing.

    By the way, the cookie on my browser with the latest expiration (2074, I think I’ll be dead by then) was put there by Sun.

    Comment by Anonymous on December 30, 2005 at 12:08 pm

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