The Washington Times

White House collects Web users’ data without notice
The Washington Times

The White House is collecting and storing comments and videos placed on its social-networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube without notifying or asking the consent of the site users, a failure that appears to run counter to President Obama’s promise of a transparent government and his pledge to protect privacy on the Internet.

Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said the White House signaled that it would insist on open dealings with Internet users and, in fact, should feel obliged to disclose that it is collecting such information. « The White House has not been adequately transparent, particularly on how it makes use of new social media techniques, such as this example, » he said.

Mr. Obama signed a memo in January stating that his efforts to maintain an open government would be « unprecedented » and « ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation and collaboration. »

An Obama campaign document on technology pledged that, as president, Mr. Obama « will strengthen privacy protections for the digital age and will harness the power of technology to hold government and business accountable for violations of personal privacy. »