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Feds Searching Social Media for Information on Health Behavior

Health and Human Services to monitor social media

It’s called data-mining, and it’s happening soon, if not now.

The Department of Health and Human Services (the same people rolling out Obamacare) have shelled out just under $31,000 to an Ohio-based company to spend a year combing through social media sites to gather information on health behavior.

The National Library of Medicine will be scanning hundreds of thousands of Facebook posts, Tweets and other social media items to examine comments and statements about health by people.

The company OhMyGov has been tasked with the one-year project, and yes, the data will be saved and stored.  According to

“By examining relevant tweets and other comments,” the contract said, “NLM will gain insights to extent of use, context for which information was sought, and effects of various health-related announcements and events on usage patterns.”

The company will install software on computers at NLM headquarters in Bethesda, Md. to “maintain a comprehensive ‘universe’ of social media data.” Government bureaucrats will be trained on the software so they can search the database for health-related content.”

The story went on to say:

“Demographic characteristics” of Facebook and Twitter posts will be noted “to the extent permitted by privacy regulations.” NLM said they are interested in the location, number of followers, and academic degrees held by users.”

Perhaps it’s understandable their desire to gain further knowledge about how people feel about their health,  how they take care of it or abuse it, and other related topics, but at the same time this ranks right up there with all the reports about the increasing use of drones to monitor the population.    Guess it’s just another intrusion into the private lives of citizens.


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