So apparently the Library of Congress is going to archive every single public Twitter message since 2006. Uh, okay.
This has some people looking over their shoulders:
- Twittering for posterity (Big Think)
If you were on the Hollywood Blacklist in the 1950s, you may not look at the government mining your personal data as casually as those who’ve never felt the cold stare of Big Brother’s scrutiny. The Hollywood Blacklist was created to terrorize and harass members of the entertainment industry (actors, screenwriters, producers, directors, musicians) who were suspected of having any association with the Communist Party, sometimes based on something as vague as attending a party where “Red Fascists” were present. This is just one well-known but oft-forgotten example of what happens when personal information lands in the hands of government and its secret intelligence arms.
Welcome to the internet; you must be new here.
See, Twitter is a voluntary, opt-in, broadcast medium. It’s not private speech, and there are no controls against tweets being surreptitiously archived anyway. For all we know, Zombie Joe McCarthy’s been siphoning off messages into his great secret twitter-chives under the Wisconsin Dells and grepping them for keywords like “red” and “delicious brains” since the service came online in 2006. The barest hint of research on the subject would reveal that Twitter’s been used rather publicly many times in the past.
Could the LC Twitter-chives be used for nefarious purposes in the future? Oh, of course. Similarly, if I write my credit-card number on my balcony window, someone might write it down and buy porn on my dime. But the answer is not to complain about the LC’s archives or to complain that my balcony’s visible from the street — it’s to not broadcast information you want kept private.
Look. I’m going to tell you a secret: the internet remembers everything. Everything. It remembers what really happened in Bosnia in 1996, and it remembers my embarrassing misuse of “populism” in 2007. If you dump something on the big truck (oh yeah, it remembers that too), don’t be surprised when someone digs it up.