Information-harvesting software widespread on council websites

New research shows Donegal and Leitrim County Council’s websites had a considerable number of so called ‘trackers’ installed which help companies compile detailed profiles of users.

Research shows the website had 85 different types of tracking technologies operational, second only to Kerry County Council which had 91.

According to research carried out by Danish ePrivacy firm Cookiebot, the software used to harvest potentially sensitive information about users, is widespread across the websites of numerous government departments and local authorities.

Findings show almost all of the 16 departmental and 31 local authority websites surveyed had “trackers” installed including Donegal County Council which had the second highest number of all councils in the country with 85 and Leitrim County Council which is listed as having 78.

These trackers can then be commercialised and used by online advertisers, or for other data mining purposes.

Ocean Fm News contacted all three local authorises in the region requesting information regarding the trackers they use on their websites.

Donegal County Council says it uses a number of third party applications such as YouTube to enhance its website and make it more user friendly.

A spokesperson says Donegal County Council says it does not use cookies to collect or store any personal information about its users and it is currently examining the usage of these third party applications.

Leitrim County Council says it uses Google analytics to gather information on the number of visitors to the website as part of the requirements for the National Performance Indicators.

A spokesperson says the council respects the right of individuals and it doesn’t use personal data for any other purposes unless explicit consent is obtained.

Meanwhile Sligo County Council says it uses only two ‘trackers’ on its website, both are standard on all websites in both the private and public sectors.

It says these cookies are solely for website maintenance and analytics and that the issue is under ongoing review.