Press Releases

NDU iCollege Brings Federal Privacy Employees Together to Share and Explore New Technology Threats to Privacy

UNRELEASED | October 24, 2011

Cookies, Web Bugs and Web Beacons, Super Cookies, and Geolocation were some of the privacy-technology topics discussed at the NDU iCollege 2011 iCollege Privacy Day, held at Fort Lesley McNair in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, October 12, 2011.

Professors James Churbuck, Sam Liles, Jay Holcomb and James Kasprzak of the NDU iCollege Information Operations and Assurance Department led interactive discussions of the benefits of tracking- technologies and their potential impact on privacy. Members of the federal privacy community learned about cookies, super or flash cookies, and web bugs and beacons. Demonstrations showed actual cookies on federal websites and stimulated discussion of their value and their potential dangers.

Professor Holcomb used free tools to show the flow of cookies among sites and the storage of persistent and flash cookies. He encouraged attendees to work with their information technology staff to verify the appropriate use of cookies on their organization websites.

Geo-location was another major topic discussed at the forum. Participants explored location services and retention of information on mobile devices including phones, tablets and laptops. The military roots of today’s social media geo-location services provided an example of how new uses emerge for technologies and reveal vulnerabilities and impacts never anticipated by designers.

Throughout the day, presenters challenged participants to consider “what’s in it” for the provider of a free service. The answer may illuminate possible uses for collected information and transaction histories. All were encouraged to study the privacy statements of the websites they visit and mobile services they utilize; and that website privacy statements should identify the use of cookies and the purposes they serve. For mobile services, privacy statements should document the information collected and the limits to its sharing and retention.

If you have questions about the lecture or would like more information, please contact the organizer, Mary Cole Carroll at: In addition, the NDU iCollege offers a course called, Privacy Rights and Civil Liberties. The course focuses on protecting personal information while exploiting new technologies, implementing cross-agency information sharing, and improving the processes of government and service to the public. Course credit can be applied to the Information Assurance Certificate Program and/or to the Government Information Leadership Masters Degree offered by the College. For information log on to: