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Obama revives the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board with new appointments

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Obama will revive the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board by nominating three new members. The board, which has been vacant since 2008, is charged with making sure that privacy and civil liberties are "appropriately considered," and balanced with the need for government action in the fight against terrorism.

Obama
Obama

As the government relies on social networks and mobile communications to track terrorist threats, privacy is increasingly at risk of collateral damage in cyberspace. Created in 2004, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is charged with making sure those concerns are "appropriately considered," and "balanced with the need" for government action in the fight against terrorism. Unfortunately, the Board has lain dormant since 2008 due to vacancies, but that may soon change as President Obama has announced his intent to nominate three new members, including a chairman. The President nominated two others last year, but none have yet been confirmed by Congress, a necessary step before they can assume their duties.

Once the nominees are confirmed, they will be tasked with making sure the government's efforts to increase cybersecurity don't end up violating the privacy and rights of citizens. The government has already taken an interest in protecting private information from misuse by online services like Facebook, with the FTC recently settling some privacy concerns of its own. It's good to have smart people protecting our privacy — but hopefully, Congress already has those interests in mind in the first place.