Friday, August 07, 2009

Is Obama asking you to snitch on your neighbor?

I see a lot of conservatives are in an uproar about the White House providing an email address where you can send "fishy" emails and websites that may be providing misinformation about the health care reform bills. If you haven't heard of this, I would suggest you read it from the horse's mouth here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/Facts-Are-Stubborn-Things/ before you come to a conclusion. The key line is
"If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov."
However, if you read the entire blog entry, you'll see that they use the word "chain email" instead of just "email" everywhere except one. Guess which line was picked up by the right wing? Anyone with a basic understanding of English would know that these "fishy" emails are referring to the chain emails that are being spammed around the internet.

The question we should be asking is not "what is the gov't gonna do with this info?", but "what kind ok info is the gov't expecting to get?".

You see, the best indication of what someone will do with solicited info, is the type of info that they are likely to get. Let's take for example if a husband asks his wife for her dress size? The husband's expecting her to say a number and from that you might infer that he's gonna buy her a dress or outfit. Even though there is a relationship between shoes and dress sizes, he obviously wouldn't be buying shoes with that info.

Now let's look at what the White House wants. They only want stuff that "seems fishy to you". Does "fishy" mean dissent or rejection to you? Remember, the citizens have to play along in order for a snitch hotline to work. If someone you knew said they didn't like the health plan, would that trigger your "fishy" meter? If you got an unsolicited chain email from someone you didn't know trying to convince you of something, then that would be fishy.

Is it okay for the gov't to keep a record of "fishy" emails? I would say that anyone chain mailing information not matter what that information is, should not be immune from being noticed by the gov't. Even if there wasn't a flag address, does a chain mailer know that somewhere down the line, the chain wont extend to some white house official's email?

Still not convinced? Would you believe that another gov't agency wanted you to send them fishy emails. Know which one?... the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Remember those emails about Nigerians wanting to deposit money into your account? They wanted you to send them "fishy" emails like that. Is this just a ploy by the FTC to get you to tell them whose cheating on their taxes? Maybe if you're a conservative.

3 comments:

Jessica said...

Yknow, I'm so damn sick of this crap.

Anonymous said...

Here's how to automatically send a growing daily stream of junk email to flag@whitehouse.gov:

1. Set up a gmail account (mail.google.com) just for this purpose.

2. Sign up for a bunch of free, email-generating web services (eg. Google Alerts) using the gmail account.

3. Adjust your gmail settings: under "Settings->Forwarding and POP/IMAP", select "Forward a copy of incoming mail to", then fill in flag@whitehouse.gov

4. Tell your friends how they too can fight against intimidation and abuse of power.

It's time to hit back, ten times as hard. Every day.

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