Wired is running a great article about a not quite public meeting concerning the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. This group is charged with ensuring the rights to privacy of US citizens, it was formed in 2004 by Congress, although it actually took until March of this year to ‘hand pick’ these protectors of our moral fiber!

In a three hour meeting held at Georgetown University very little information was revealed. To prevent having to answer any really awkward questions the 5 member panel refused to allow journalists to ask any questions at all!

From news reports this was the most frustrating and pointless waste of everyone’s time. The press were not the only grumpy people, the panel managed to stonewall privacy advocates and academics interested in the subject as well.

The message that the panel did give was reminiscent of the Bobby McFerrin hit  ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’. We are all safe with the NSA listening to our every word on the phone!  

Of course one has to realize that this group which came out of the 9/11 commission recommendations is a White House pet project, and a very tame pet at that. All of the members were handpicked, and have no responsibility to the general public, just to the White House.

It is unlikely in my humble opinion that this was the desire of the 9/11 commission when they advocated this oversight group.

The Wired article is here.

Simon Barrett


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