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White House Collecting User Data

The Washington Times is claiming an exclusive scoop reporting that the White House is secretly storing comments and videos placed on its social networking pages found on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo and Slideshare. Apparently the White House isn't living up to President Obama's promise of a "transparent government" protecting the privacy of its US citizens on the Internet, as the government isn't acquiring the consent of site users after leeching the said information.

Electronic Privacy Information Center president Marc Rotenberg told the Washington Times that the White House should feel obliged to disclose that it is collecting the information after insisting on open dealings with Internet users. "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.

Chicago Now expands on the story, reporting that the White House has hired a contractor to "crawl and archive" on all seven social websites. The collection includes comments, tags, graphics, audio and video posted by users who don't work for the White House. To get an understanding of the amount of data the White House is supposedly collecting, there are more than 333,000 fans on Facebook. The White House page offers updates several times a day, drawing hundreds of thousands of comments. Additionally the White House has more than 1 million followers on Twitter, and more than 87,000 subscribers on YouTube.

Just on those three networks, that's whole lot of data. The question is this: what is the White House planning to do with all that information?