Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Government "cars.gov" site claims government ownership of users' computers!

Registered car dealers were confronted with language from the US Department of Transportation claiming that if they accessed the government’s “cash for clunkers” site Cars.gov , their computers became the property of government. The language read:

"This application provides access to the [Department of Transportation] DoT CARS system. When logged on to the CARS system, your computer is considered a Federal computer system and is the property of the U.S. Government. Any or all uses of this system and all files on this system may be intercepted, monitored, recorded, copied, audited, inspected, and disclosed... to authorized CARS, DoT, and law enforcement personnel, as well as authorized officials of other agencies, both domestic and foreign."

Apparently this language has been removed and was not viewable by car buyers visiting dealer’s sites. However, I recently bought a car from Koons Ford and was allowed to access the dealer’s system to deal with certain matters such as moving my own auto insurance. My trade-in car was not legally a “clunker” so I did not encounter such language, but it appears that I could have.
Hugh D’Andrade has the story at Electronic Frontier Foundation here, “Cars.gov Terms of Service: What Glenn Beck Gets Right and Wrong” , link here.

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