White House Shuts Online Rumor Tip Box

Program to collect health-care hearsay slammed over privacy
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 17, 2009 2:40 PM CDT
President Barack Obama speaks at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Phoenix, Monday, Aug. 17, 2009.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – The White House is closing its e-tip box for bogus health care rumors amid concerns over what the administration might do with such messages, Politico reports. On Aug. 4, a White House blog told readers: “If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.” But opponents raised privacy issues, saying the White House was “collecting names."

“All we're asking people to do is if they're confused about what health care reform is going to mean to them, we're happy to help clear that up for you. Nobody is keeping anybody's names,” said Obama’s press secretary. But a GOP senator called it an “Obama monitoring program” and called on the White House to end it.  Now, an email to that address receives a response referring users to whitehouse.gov/realitycheck.