Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Exhibit #43,859 re: the American right is fucking insane

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Yes, you heard me: fucking insane. Here's some paranoid raving from the National Legal and Policy Center:

NLPC has uncovered a plan by the White House New Media operation to hire a technology vendor to conduct a massive, secret effort to harvest personal information on millions of Americans from social networking websites.

The information to be captured includes comments, tag lines, emails, audio, and video. The targeted sites include Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr and others – any space where the White House maintains a presence."

Right. The Obama White House is an Orwellian menace, a threat to American freedom. Seriously, what utter nonsense.

Where were these idiots when Bush and Cheney were wiretapping American citizens and otherwise shitting all over the Constitution?

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Please note: Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, and Flickr are public websites. Comments, tag lines, e-mails, audio, and video are not "personal information." When I tweet, that's it, it goes public. The same goes for the other sites. Yes, there are privacy settings on Facebook, but there's a difference between status updates and personal information.

The Obama White House is free to monitor public websites, it is not? After all, these are new media sites. It isn't enough anymore just to monitor traditional media outlets. And it isn't just the White House. I'm sure every government office in Washington, and in every state capital, conducts broad media scans. I'm sure every elected official has staff monitoring what's being said in the media. I'm sure media outlets, businesses, and other private organizations conduct their own scans, too.

It's not Orwellianism, and it's not some nefarious plot to create a totalitarian society. In a free society, people are free to monitor the public sphere. It's called democracy.

**********

UPDATE: For an intelligent conservative take on this story, see my friend Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air:

I'm not sure that highlighting a public contract offer amounts to "uncovering" a conspiracy, especially since their analysis turns out to be faulty. Contrary to NLPC's take, the contractor would be collecting data required to be kept by the White House -- by law.

Ed is absolutely right -- and his analysis is fantastic. It's much ado about nothing, not a totalitarian plot.

Would all of you who jumped on the anti-Obama bandwagon care to apologize, or at least to take back your attacks?

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12 Comments:

  • The Obama White House is free to monitor public websites, it is not? After all, these are new media sites. It isn't enough anymore just to monitor traditional media outlets.

    By Anonymous surrey, at 7:51 AM  

  • So you're perfectly happy letting the White House collect, sort, organize, search and filter everything you post about yourself on Facebook?

    How copacetic would you be if this were a Republican administration?

    Or are you immune to the realization of hypocrisy on your own blog?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:28 AM  

  • Upon learning of Obama's new Internet Mining Policy

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    By Blogger Thingumbobesquire, at 8:46 AM  

  • "So you're perfectly happy letting the White House collect, sort, organize, search and filter everything you post about yourself on Facebook?"

    Did anyone say "happy" other than you? This is a phony argument already, you don't need to be inventing attitudes for other people.

    "How copacetic would you be if this were a Republican administration?"

    Michael is right, why no anger at the government illegally reading private information, but the arch attitude and pose about the government reading the phone book or using Google? If you want to keep something secret, get an unlisted number and don't put it on he internet. How apoplectic were you when Bush ignored the constitution and tapped your phone? I thought not, you hypocrite.

    ?"Or are you immune to the realization of hypocrisy on your own blog?"

    Phony accusation based on a false equivalence -- think you're talking to idiots or Republicans here? There is no law against using Google or Technorati, or facebook or twitter, or the newspapers or the Old Farmer's Almanac: there is a law against warrantless wiretapping and mail opening and surveillance and you're not immune to hypocrisy, you're just another dancing monkey for the GOP organ grinder.

    And speaking of dancing monkeys -- yes I'm talking to you, Thinkybullcrap. . .

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 9:53 AM  

  • So you're perfectly happy letting the White House collect, sort, organize, search and filter everything you post about yourself on Facebook?

    You do realize that Facebook is a social network site and the point of that is to post information that you want to share with the world? So if you have an objection to having the folks in the West Wing see pictures of your cousins wedding or your cat coughing up a hairball, then don't post it.

    (I realize that I'm basically echoing Capt. Fogg, but sheesh.)

    By Blogger Mustang Bobby, at 12:20 PM  

  • With so many other pressing issues facing our country, why utilize our country's resources (manpower and money) to gather that sort of information?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:21 PM  

  • You know I simply don't mind that the government might be improving a shining hour or two looking to see who posts what on Aryan Nation sites or Jew-Watch or secessionist sites or all the countless pages of all the people who advocate the death of the President or rounding up liberals or blowing up buildings or shooting doctors not to speak of jihadist "chatter"

    No matter what it costs, it's nothing compared to the trillions we waste on mercenaries and obsolete weapons programs and bridges to nowhere and jailing dope smokers, etc. and it could save lots of lives.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 2:17 PM  

  • There is really nothing to worry about anonymous.They will be gathering information on our country's youth.We all know that our young people are fully aware of the consequences of posting to social network sites. They represent the sophisticated, critical thinkers in America, impervious to subtle recruitment messages.

    What's to worry about? Surely we can trust the Obama Administration & czars to fairly & equitably look out for ALL of our kids' not just a few select groups.

    By Blogger j, at 7:48 PM  

  • Umm, I want people, as many as possible, to read what I say on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. That's why I write it. Especially Twitter, where I sell stuff, and LinkedIn, where I sell me as a professional.

    If the White House manages to get through all the hearts, eggs, and Mafia Wars game points everyone keeps awarding everyone else on Facebook, they'll know my position on health care. However, I doubt they are actually bothering to read the hundred million or so daily Facebook updates.

    By Anonymous Joyful Alternative, at 11:42 PM  

  • The bottom line is: What is the White House going to do with the information they collect? That's what we should worry about.

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