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Obama keeps privacy oversight board on ice
Written by Daniel   
Friday, 14 May 2010 19:00

From C/Net News

As a U.S. senator and presidential candidate, Barack Obama pledged (PDF) to "strengthen privacy protections for the digital age."

But after 16 months as president, Obama has failed to appoint anyone to a privacy oversight body charged with ensuring Americans' civil liberties are not violated.


Rep. Jane Harman, the California Democrat who heads the Homeland Security committee, on Thursday called on the administration "to appoint the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which is mandated by the 2004 intelligence reform law, and which has not been filled."

The 2007 law expanding the board's responsibilities requires Obama to appoint members "in a timely manner." But its drafters included no penalties--the possibility must have been inconceivable--if the president chooses to ignore the law's requirement.

While appointing members may seem like a mere exercise in bureaucracy, creating the oversight board was a key part of Congress' attempts to rewrite federal intelligence law by implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission that created a quasi-independent privacy agency.

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