The purpose of the Privacy Act is to balance the government's need to maintain information about individuals with the rights of individuals to be protected against unwarranted invasions of their privacy stemming from federal agencies' collection, maintenance, use, and disclosure of personal information about them.The end justifies the means, comrades...
UPDATE: Of Arms And The Law is asking how the White House's Snitchaplooza squares with this part of the Privacy Act:
5 USC §552a(e)(7): maintain no record describing how any individual exercises rights guaranteed by the First Amendment unless expressly authorized by statute or by the individual about whom the record is maintained or unless pertinent to and within the scope of an authorized law enforcement activity.Apparently, it doesn't. If a Republican White House did something like this, there'd be howls, lawsuits, and disruptive protests galore.
UPDATE: Byron York says that this may actually be worse than originally thought - the White House may not be subject to the Privacy Act, as it is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). So Team Hopenchange may well be able to legally create an 'enemies list', and legally refuse public requests for information about the gathering or use of the information they gather. Since the Privacy Act was drafted in 1974 response to just that sort of thing happening in the Nixon White House, I find this very troubling indeed. In this case, I hope York's analysis is wrong.