White House/Obama email information collection — it’s getting weird
I received something peculiar in my email yesterday:
A few things to note:
1. The email informs me that someone left a comment on “bookwormroom.wordpress.com,” a blog that has lain dormant for four years.
2. The Author’s name is an obvious nom de cyber — Trimegistus.
3. The Author leaves as his email address “email@example.com“.
That email address is the interesting part. I am not for a single minute claiming that Trimegistus is a White House employee. However, “firstname.lastname@example.org” is an email address with a history. The Obama administration created that address shortly after moving in, way back in 2009. The “flag” in the email address was not a patriotic reference. Instead, the White House was asking supporters to “flag” information that was “fishy”:
The White House is under fire for a blog post asking supporters to send “fishy” information received through rumors, chain e-mails and casual conversations to a White House e-mail address, email@example.com.
The best spin one could put on this bizarre White House request was that, as it pushed for health care reform, the White House was trying to stay ahead of the rumor mill. The worst spin was that the White House was trying to create an enemy’s list, a concept with an East German feel to it.
Given the suspicion surrounding the email address, you can understand that I’m a bit perplexed that someone left this specific email address in a message intended directly for me (intended for me because the email address does not show up in the comments; it only reveals itself to the blog proprietor). Is someone hoping that, finding the comment confusing or the email address intriguing, I’ll fire off an email of my own asking about it? Who knows? It could just be a prank — a real one, not a Weiner one.
I wouldn’t have blogged about this at all, but for the coincidence of reading today that the Obama White House seems to have gotten confused about the purpose of the official White House website, and is using it to collect visitor’s email information. You can read more about this blatant information collection tactic — which might also violate campaign laws — at Doug Ross’ site and at Publius’ Forum.
Keep in mind that the White House website is a publicly funded site, so you’re paying to assist the Obamas as they build a database. Just be grateful, that (presumably) you’re not being put on the enemy’s list.
Cross-posted at Bookworm Room