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Council urged to explain cookie ‘trackers’ on website

DONEGAL County Council has been asked to explain why it has cookies on its website.

Independent election candidate Sinéad Stewart said the public had a right to know the reason behind the local authority “harvesting” people’s internet habits.

Ms Stewart said, “It has come to light that a Danish ePrivacy firm has conducted research into 1,000 websites for data tracking cookies in Ireland and Donegal County Council was one of the worst-performing in the country.

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“Just why is Donegal County Council harvesting potentially very sensitive information about our online movements. Why are they tracking us and what are they using this information for?”

Independent election candidate Sinead Stewart.

Cookies are small files written to devices used to access the internet. They record what sites an individual visits and helps build a profile of a person’s likes, dislikes and habits.

“People visit Donegal County Council website to find important information on local council and to download forms and so on. This development might discourage people from using the website if they believe their online movements are being tracked without their knowledge or consent,” said Ms Stewart.

“As a tech worker, I’m all too aware of the impact this technology has on users. We all know about the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the impact it had in elections worldwide.

“I’m shocked that in light of the very necessary climate of protecting people’s data and privacy, Donegal County Council are using this technology so widely.

“This is totally unacceptable and inexcusable and just further highlights the need for openness and transparency within Donegal County Council.

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“I will be raising this with Donegal County Council today and filing a complaint with the Data Protection Commissioner immediately.”

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