Recreation.gov walks privacy line

Bush administration officials would like to push the bounds of e-government with Recreation.gov, but they don't want to push too far.

The Web site, which enables outdoor enthusiasts to make reservations at national parks, already has a stronger consumer slant than most e-government initiatives.

One way to make it even more like a mainstream Web site is to incorporate "personal profiling," according to Karen Evans, administrator for e-government and information technology at the Office of Management and Budget.

Profiling technology, already in use at Amazon.com Inc. and other retail sites, tracks the information and products that Web users seek and highlights similar offerings in which they might be interested.

"We want to run these [e-government initiatives] just like the private sector runs its own online services," said Evans, speaking Sept. 8 at the Interagency Resources Management Conference in Cambridge, Md.

On the other hand, some people may be concerned about the idea of an agency collecting data on private citizens. "We have to make sure we do not violate the individual's privacy in how we use that information going forward," she said.

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