By being an active user of the internet and posting photos, ideas, and information — people give up a relatively large amount of privacy. Nothing is sacred anymore on the internet — and I am the first person to admit that I will post photos of myself without a care as to who sees them. But people still expect a level of protection and privacy to remain online — and when that is threatened, people feel vulnerable. On Friday, the Wikileaks Task Force had people considering their own privacy and wondering — what's the Wikileaks Twitter database?
The Wikileaks Twitter database is an idea put together by the Wikileaks Task Force is a concept that could threaten the privacy and reveal the personal details of many people. On Friday, the Wikileaks Task Force Twitter account shared with followers an idea for a database — that would compile a list of all of Twitter's "verified" accounts and the personal details that belong to the accounts owners. This could include information pertaining to their "family, job, financial, housing and relationships," according to the tweet. But most of that information is information that many people — even Twitter verified, public figures — don't want to be made public. According to the Wikileaks Task Force Twitter "about me," the task force is a group that corrects misinformation about Wikileaks.
This personal information, according to the WikiLeaks Task Force Twitter account will "develop a metric to understand influence networks based on proximity graphs." But regardless of its use, the database seems a little invasive. Twitter told USA Today in a statement:
Posting another person's private and confidential information is a violation of Twitter rules.
While one could argue that Wikipedia posts this kind of information — about job history, family, and relationship history — not every single person who if verified on Twitter has a Wikipedia page — and Wikipedia is not a credible source. The problem with this kind of data collection is not just an invasion of privacy to public figures — like actors or politician, its an invasion of privacy to the private figures who are verified — such as journalists or news anchors. Not everyone who is verified is a celebrity, politician, brand, or someone who lives in the public eye. Not to mention, a lot of celebrities with verified Twitter accounts — like Kerry Washington — choose to live their lives privately. And once the WikiLeaks Task Force gets their hands on this information, what is stopping them from releasing the information of non-verified accounts to develop a metric?
This database and it's hypothetical existence sounds like it would cause more harm than good — according to Gizmodo, the threat of this database feels "desperate" and "aggressive." Until more information is released about the database and its purpose, it doesn't seem like a good idea.