Obama tries YouTube alternative

March 6, 2009
Federal Computer Week

© March 6, 2009 Federal Computer Week, author Doug Beizer.

Ongoing negotiations between the White House and Google took an unexpected turn in late February when President Barack Obama’s weekly address was sent via an in-house video player rather than Google’s YouTube service.

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Privacy issues associated with using YouTube have long been a problem for the federal government, said Mark McCreary, a partner at law firm Fox Rothschild.

YouTube uses cookies to track user statistics, which violates the rules for government Web sites. Google provided the White House with a version of the company’s embedded player that does not send a cookie until the visitor plays the video.

Although the tweaked version of YouTube might help the White House comply with federal law, McCreary said, officials probably tried their own video player because they are looking for more control over the administration’s content.

“The White House was more interested in getting into something they control for themselves,” he said. “They don’t have to worry about a third party really having control over that content and getting their fingers on, so to speak, the users themselves.”

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