"The White House is in bit of a conundrum because of this privacy statute that prohibits the White House from collecting data and storing it on people who disagree with it," Judge Andrew Napolitano, a FOX News analyst....The ACLU ventures an opinion on the subject:
Napolitano was referring to the Privacy Act of 1974, which was passed after the Nixon administration used federal agencies to illegally investigate individuals for political purposes. Enacted after Richard Nixon's resignation in the Watergate scandal, the statute generally prohibits any federal agency from maintaining records on individuals exercising their right to free speech.
"While it is unclear at this point what the government is doing with the information it is collecting, critics of the administration's health care proposal should not fear that their names will end up in some government database that could be used to chill their right to free speech."The White House denies that it is assembling a Nixon-style "enemies list." It purports only to want to find out what misinformation is out there so it can supply corrections. This makes it sound a lot like the "Fight the Smears" website Obama had during the 2008 campaign.
But it's much more than that. From the first-linked article:
"Of course the White House is collecting names," [said Texas Sen. John Cornyn].
"The question is not what the White House is doing, but how and why," he said. "How are they purging names and e-mail addresses from this account to protect privacy? Why do they need the forwarded e-mails, names, and 'casual conversations' sent to them instead of just the arguments that they want to rebut?