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Friday, September 4, 2009
WND Misleads on White House Archiving
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 2 WorldNetDaily article by Chelsea Schilling falsely portrays the scope of archiving the Obama White House plans to do of archiving its presence on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.

Schilling uncritically repeats claims by the National Legal and Policy Center that the White House "is hiring a contractor to harvest information about Americans from its pages on social networking websites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr."

In fact, as the right-wing Hot Air has detailed, the NLPCs claims are faulty:

The Presidential Records Act (PRA) essentially requires each administration to keep every pixel and keystroke ever published for later review by Congress or investigators, in case illegal activity takes place.  We have seen this invoked ex post facto to the Clinton and Bush administrations, in the latter over e-mails sent and received outside the White House mail system.  At that time, legal experts and investigators insisted that everything produced by an administration for anything remotely concerning official business had to be archived within the EOP.

A more careful reading of this RFP shows that to be the project.  The contract directs the contractor to archive the “information posted on publicly-accessible web sites where the EOP maintains a presence“, including social networking sites like MySpace, Twitter, and so on.  It doesn’t call for everything on those networks to be archived, but only “information posted by non-EOP persons on publicly-accessible web sites where the EOP maintains a presence[,] both comments posted on pages created by EOP and messages sent to EOP accounts on those web sites.”  In other words, the archiving will include interaction on EOP websites and pages, but not anything else.

The headline of Schilling's article -- "On Facebook, MySpace? Obama's got your e-mail; White House spammer-in-chief wants contractor to track critics" -- manages not only to falsely suggest that the White House wants to collect information about everyone on those sites, it falsely suggests that the White House is specifically targeting its critics, something for which there is absoulutely no evidence.

A Sept. 4 WND article by Aaron Klein repeats the NLPC's faulty analysis, again falsely suggesting that the White House wants to gather information on all users, not just interactions with White House pages on those sites.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:26 AM EDT

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