Feeds

George Bush fears email privacy breach

'I don't want you reading my personal stuff', prez tells press

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

US prez George Bush has admitted he does not send personal emails to daughters Jenna and Barbara for fear that his "personal stuff" might end up in the public domain.

Bush made the admission on Thursday to the American Society of Newspaper Editors during a discussion centring on whether the US government is sufficiently forthcoming to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act, Reuters reports. Bush said the administration gets around 3.5 million FOIA requests a year and noted: "I would hope that those who expose documents are wise about the difference between that which truly would jeopardize national security and that which should be read."

We leave it to readers to imagine quite what exactly any email between George and Jenna and Barbara might contain which - were it released into the wild - could threaten national security*. Bush says it's a personal privacy issue: "I don't want you reading my personal stuff," he admitted, adding: "There has got to be a certain sense of privacy. You know, you're entitled to how I make decisions. And you're entitled to ask questions, which I answer. I don't think you're entitled to be able to read my mail between my daughters and me."

Bush is probably right that people should expect a certain privacy for their personal e-correspondence, in which case he must be delighted by the recently defanged Patriot Act, a typically knee-jerk post-9/11 piece of legislation which attempted to oblige ISPs to "comply with a request for subscriber information and toll billing records information, or electronic communication transactional records".

Well, United States District Judge Victor Marrero last October gave that particular provision the legislative heave-ho, although FBI Director Robert Mueller earlier this month begged the Senate Judiciary Committee for "expanded powers to issue an administrative subpoena - essentially a demand for information such as medical, banking, and phone and internet records without a judge's prior approval".

Of course, the Patriot Act is there to defend the US against the long shadow of terrorist menace. The FOIA is there to allow people some hope that they might one day find out just how their government defended them against the long shadow of terrorist menace. Or not. Sean Moulton, a spokesman for OMB Watch, which tracks goings-on at the White House Office of Management and Budget and other government agencies, said: "This is a government that is getting worse by the day in terms of permitting the public access to information and documents that they have paid for."

Bush concluded by admitting that his avoidance of email correspondence was because "everything is investigated in Washington". He confessed that, as a result, "we're losing a lot of history, not just with me, but with other presidents as well".

We take this to mean that Bill Clinton at no stage exchanged email pleasantries with Monika Lewinsky. We further suspect this was on personal, rather than national, security grounds - to prevent a furious Hillary using the FOIA to get FBI transcripts of the correspondence with which to soundly thrash her miscreant hubby. ®

*Here's one to get you started:

FROM: Airforce One
TO: The Twins
RE: Lunch

Hi girls mom is fine and v.busy with her apple pie bakerizing and stuff. Sorry, can't make lunch 6 June cos little Donny R. says we are going to give it to the Eyeranians. The first wave will go in at 6am EST - subject to CNN approval. Don't tell anyone, though, cos we're hoping to catch the Ayatollahs on the hop. Love Pop.

Related stories

Feds beg Congress to expand PATRIOT Act
Patriot Act used to quell laser pointer terror
Judge defangs Patriot Act

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Criticism of Uber's journo-Data Analytics plan is an Attack on DIGITAL FREEDOM
First they came for Emil – and I'm damn well SPEAKING OUT
'It is comforting to know where your data centres are.' UK.GOV does NOT
Plus: Anons are 'wannabes', KKK says, before being pwned
Google's whois results say it's a lousy smut searcher
Run whois google.com or whois microsoft.com. We dare you, you PIG◙◙◙◙ER
Holy vintage vehicles! Earliest known official Batmobile goes on sale
Riddle me this: are you prepared to pay US$180k?
'Open source just means big companies can steal your code.' O RLY?
Plus: Flame of the Week returns, for one night only!
NEWSFLASH: It's time to ditch dullard Facebook chums
Everything hot in tech, courtesy of avian anchor Regina Eggbert
Hey, you, PHONE-FACE! Kickstarter in-car mobe mount will EMBED your phone into your MUG
Stick it on the steering wheel and wait for the airbag to fire
prev story

Whitepapers

Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.