Big Brother is not only watching, he’s collecting and archiving

We now learn that the White House , though a private contractor, and without anyone’s knowledge, is collecting and storing comments made on it’s social networking sites at Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo and Sideshare.  The truly amazing part though is that the President is pointing to federal law as his justification for these actions.

The Presidential Records Act provides that the president must maintain all documents:

“created or received by the president, his immediate staff or a unit or individual of the Executive Office of the President whose function is to advise and assist the president, in the course of conducting activities which relate to or have an effect upon the carrying out of the constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President.”

To me, there are several troubling aspects about what the White House is doing. 

First, a private contractor?

Second, anyone who posts a comment on, let’s say, the White House Facebook page, is not notified that their comments will be collected and archived.  The folks on the left were outraged that the Patriot Act allowed wiretapping of suspected terrorists without their knowledge.  I can only hope there is a similar outrage at collecting “speech” from ordinary Americans without their knowledge.  Or will the double standard most cherished by the far left rear its ugly head once again?

Third, what is being collected and archived are comments posted on a third party web site.  It seems a stretch to argue that this is some sort of “official correspondence  with the President”, such as writing a letter to the President, or going to the White House official web site would be.  But, at least with the latter two, you know your correspondence will be collected and archived.

And, finally, what happens with the information collected?  Who will have access to it, and why?  And, for what purpose will that information be used?

3 replies
  1. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    It isn't enough that the president has broken every promise he made before, during and after the election, or lied repeatedly during speeches (tailored for each audience he speaks before, but now he is trying to live up to and exceed the imaginary excesses that Democrats fabricated for the Bush administration.    Transparency, honesty, fairness?  "Nah.  Adhere to the Constitution?   "The what?   You mean that "living, breathing document" that we are sucking the life out of?  Fuhgeddaboutit!"

  2. gillie28
    gillie28 says:

    About a month ago, I emailed the Obama White House regarding the overspending issues that have beset Congress and the Administration.  I wanted to emphasize my opposition is based on policy and economics and not racial ly motivated.  However, before I could do so, I was required to fill in a form of personal information.  This really surprised me because I had frequently emailed the WH during the Bush and Clinton administrations and it was a very simple process with no overt invasion of privacy.  I could see why this could have a "chilling" effect on those who have criticism, but are afraid we could develop into a police state and they could be targeted.  Incidentally, a couple of days later I received a "template" email from David Axelrod asking for support for Obama's health care program.  Showing that they not only didn't read my email, but just used the personal information for their own political objectives.

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