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Every single tweet being turned over to U.S. government

Thursday, December 08, 2011 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: tweets, surveillance, government

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(NaturalNews) They say there are billions of them, with more than 50 million added per day. But whatever the actual number, every single tweet ever sent since the beginning of Twitter-time is set to be turned over to Uncle Sam.

According to Federal News Radio earlier this week, Twitter has struck a deal (deal?) with the Library of Congress to archive every single tweet. Rather than treat them as free, protected speech, the billions of Tweets are being treated as historical documents and will archived as such, the report said.

"We have an agreement with Twitter where they have a bunch of servers with their historic archive of tweets, everything that was sent out and declared to be public," Bill Lefurgy, the digital initiatives program manager at the library's national digital information infrastructure and preservation program, said on Federal News Radio.

"We were excited to be involved with acquiring the Twitter archives because it's a unique record of our time," he added. "It's also a unique way of communication. It's not so much that people are going to be interested in what you or I had for lunch, which some people like to say on Twitter."

Which begs the question: What, then, is the government "interested" in? According to the report, the tweets will be made available to researchers who "could then data-mine for interesting information."

"There have been studies involved with what are the moods of the public at various times of the day in reaction to certain kinds of news events," said Lefurgy. "There's all these interesting kinds of mixing and matching that can be done using the tweets as a big set of data."

The agreement, it turns out, has been in the works since last year.

Reportedly, no Tweets that users have "protected" will be included in the data dump, but let's ask the obvious question here: How many of us actually believe that private tweets aren't somehow going to show up in this LOC tweet repository - for some researcher to "data-mine?"

So, the lesson here is this: If you think your tweets are just going to vanish into the unknown after you send them, think again. And be careful what you tweet; some "researcher" may just "data-mine" it some day, to your dismay.

In the electronic age, privacy is increasingly becoming a quaint concept of the past.

Sources:

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/onde...

http://www.federalnewsradio.com/?nid=247&sid...
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