The Corner

Obamacare Site Source Code Includes ‘No Reasonable Expectation of Privacy’ Warning

The Obamacare online exchanges have been met with several concerns since they launched at the beginning of the month, but a recent discovery may raise further fears about privacy under the health-care law.

The Weekly Standard’s Jeryl Bier reports that during the process of creating an account, the website asks users if they accept the “Terms & Conditions,” which prohibit unauthorized attempts to upload information or change the site. But the website’s source code, which is not visible to users on the standard “Terms & Conditions” page, includes a warning that users should have “no reasonable expectation of privacy”:

You have no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system.  At any time, and for any lawful Government purpose, the government may monitor, intercept, and search and seize any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system.  Any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system may be disclosed or used for any lawful Government purpose.

Bier notes that one explanation for why the warning is not visible to users would be that the source code was copied and pasted from another government website; the warning is a standard one used by several government sites. Bier also points out that the warning is coded with tags that make the text invisible to the viewer, but it would become visible if the tags were removed.

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