CNN ‘Expert’ Lamely Claims to ‘Debunk’ NLPC on White House Data Harvesting on Social Networks

Gewirtz photoDavid Gewirtz, who contributes to Anderson Cooper’s blog at CNN, claims to “debunk” our story about White House New Media office plans to collect data from social networking websites.

Our story was based on a document called a “Request for Quote.” Of the document, Gewirtz states, “It’s a publicly available government procurement document, and just for you, I’ve read all 51 excruciatingly boring pages of the thing.”

Maybe too boring for Gewirtz, as he must have skimmed over this section that appears on page three under “Performance Objectives:”

(K) Provide a web-based tool for government employees to administer and manage this record keeping. (i.e. add new publicly accessible websites to the crawl or adjust the crawl frequency.) Provide a minimum of 10 simultaneous login accounts.

In other words, the administration wants the ability to have at least 10 government workers simultaneously adding new web sites to a crawl program, or adjusting the crawl frequency on web sites being crawled. This would allow a massive data mining operation. Our characterizations of this operation are not exaggerated.

This capability is overkill for what Gewirtz is claiming the administration is trying to do with this contract:

The White House isn’t trying to get at your secrets. Instead, the White House is proactively attempting to comply with the Presidential Records Act (PRA) by interpreting postings to social networking sites — if posted by members of the Executive Office of the President — as possible Presidential records.

This is a good thing.

Instead of NLPC, Gewirtz attributes the story to:

…a completely unruly and often full-goose-bozo body of bloggers, just looking for any excuse to increase their ‘hits’ and drive up the pennies they’re given for their thoughts from Google’s ad revenue service.

Although our website is based on blog software, Gewirtz is advised that NLPC is not a blog. We are a public policy group in existence since 1991. We have a track record of credibility and success. We even occasionally appear on CNN.

Before we posted our story, it was reviewed by both experts on the internet and federal contracting. We stand by it.

Too bad Gewirtz did not take the same care with his posting. According to the CNN website, he has an array of credentials. Here’s his bio:

David Gewirtz is Chairman and CEO of ZATZ Publishing, Editor-in-Chief of the ZATZ magazines and, according to the Independent Computer Consultants Association, is “one of America’s foremost email experts”. He has been described by CNN as “a leading Presidential scholar specializing in White House email.”

He is the Cyberterrorism Advisor for the International Association for Counterterrorism & Security Professionals and a columnist for The Journal of Counterterrorism and Homeland Security. He is a member of the FBI’s InfraGard program, the security partnership between the FBI and industry. David is also a member of the U.S. Naval Institute and the National Defense Industrial Association, the leading defense industry association promoting national security.

Credentials don’t mean a thing if you don’t do your homework. Fair play would dictate that Gewirtz contact us before attacking us. He made no such attempt.