Protecting Privacy and Civil Liberties on the Internet and Beyond

Yesterday, the President took a big step forward toward protecting Americans’ privacy and civil liberties with the nomination of three highly respected individuals to serve on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB).  The PCLOB is a new independent board established by Congress to advise and oversee executive branch activities with civil liberties implications, including intelligence and law enforcement practices, and to assist the President and Federal agencies in making sure that the implementation of laws, regulations, and policies related to counterterrorism appropriately consider citizens’ privacy and civil liberties.

As an independent voice for privacy and civil liberties, the Board will help ensure that national security and public safety needs are balanced appropriately with the basic constitutional protections afforded to all Americans, which make up the cornerstones of our democracy.

Once confirmed, these nominees—a Federal judge, a former senior White House lawyer from a previous Administration, and the former lead lawyer on Internet privacy issues for the Federal Trade Commission—will join two others already nominated by the President to begin their important work.  Among other benefits, the new Board will help advance the Administration’s Internet privacy policy framework and cybersecurity strategy and will help us simultaneously advance important policies relating to innovation, privacy, civil liberties, and national security in the online environment. 

We hope Congress will act swiftly in a bipartisan fashion to confirm these outstanding nominees. 

Danny Weitzner is Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Internet Policy and Quentin Palfrey is Senior Advisor for Jobs & Competitiveness in the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy

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