Library of Congress Responds To Privacy Gripes By Making Twitter Archive Less Useful

from the qualifed-researcher-of-inane-arcana dept

We recently noted how the Library Of Congress and Twitter made a big deal of the fact that the LOC would now be archiving Twitter conversations. The idea is that researchers may find a mountain of largely-incoherent blathering about the Twilight films useful in providing context as they try to piece together events of the twenty-first century. Late last week a little more detail of the archiving process leaked out, the LOC saying that in response to privacy complaints they wouldn’t store deleted tweets, and they’d also be placing all tweets under embargo for a period of six months (for whatever that’s supposed to accomplish). For good measure, they’re also apparently locking down the Twitter archive to "qualified researchers" and considering further restrictions:

"The library will embargo messages for six months after their original transmission. If that is not enough to put privacy issues to rest, she said, “We may have to filter certain things or wait longer to make them available.” The library plans to dole out its access to its Twitter archive only to those whom Ms. Anderson called "qualified researchers."

The historical dangers of "filtering certain things" aside, what’s the point of these restrictions? The entire archive is already being indexed by Google in real time, with no delays or restrictions — and other copies are being doled out to companies like Microsoft and Yahoo. In an age where phone companies are feeding every single byte of data in real time to the NSA with questionable oversight — worrying too much about the storage of your clever Twitter barbs seems to be missing the forest for the trees. The Library of Congress appears to have responded to these largely-senseless privacy concerns (you are communicating using a public service) by making the government’s Twitter archive more annoying to use. Though hey, if the apocalypse manages to decimate every other copy of the Twitter archive — you can sleep well knowing that you’ll still be able to dig through OchoCinco’s insights at The Library Of Congress with a laminated community college ID.

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Library of Congress Responds To Privacy Gripes By Making Twitter Archive Less Useful”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

“Mommy, why were you a slut when you were little?” 8-o

Tbh, can’t the LoC find something more USEFUL to archive? Like old books or old films that are falling apart, for example. Hell, it’d be more useful for posterity if they archive every torrent they can get their hands on — illegal or not.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Like old books or old films that are falling apart, for example”

The LoC has the largest rare book collection in North America. They have 1 of 4 known Gutenburg Bibles. They have 2 copies of any book that anyone has wanted to publish in the U.S. (even if they don’t intend to register the copyright). Tens of thousands of comic books.

Believe me, they got all the regular important stuff covered.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...