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    In the News: Groups Again Urge President Obama on Oversight Board

    In November, Privacy Lives joined 28 groups (including the Center for Democracy & Technology, Center for National Security Studies, and Special Libraries Association) in sending a letter (pdf) to the White House urging that the administration make the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board selection process “a priority and ensure that nominations to the Board are made to the Senate before the end of the first session of the 111th Congress, so that a Board can be seated early next year.” Several months later, the Board remains vacant and no nominations have been made. (For the history of the Board, read a previous post.)

    Now, Privacy Lives joins more than 30 groups (including the ACLU, American Library Association, Defending Dissent Foundation and September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows) in again urging (pdf) President Obama nominate individuals to fill the board. The groups explained that it is more critical than ever that the board convene. “As a result of the attempted Christmas Day bombing, your Administration and Congress are considering numerous policy changes that impact the privacy and freedoms of Americans, including expanding watch lists and more intrusive searches at airports. It is crucial that you nominate qualified individuals to serve on the PCLOB, so that it may begin to provide guidance as new policies and procedures are developed.”

    The groups noted that they are not alone in urging the board be filled. In testimony to Congress in January, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said the board “would provide a very valuable service.” Also in Congressional testimony in January, the Chair and Vice-Chair of the 9/11 Commission (former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean and former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton) said, “We continue to believe that the Board provides critical functions and we urge President Obama to reconstitute it, quickly appoint its Members, and allow them full access to the information and the authority to perform to perform this essential function.”

    The groups signing onto the letter are:

    1. American Association of Law Libraries
    2. American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
    3. American Civil Liberties Union
    4. American Library Association
    5. Arab American Institute
    6. Association of Research Libraries
    7. Bill of Rights Defense Committee
    8. Center for Democracy & Technology
    9. Center for National Security Studies
    10. Council on American-Islamic Relations
    11. Cyber Privacy Project
    12. The Constitution Project
    13. Defending Dissent Foundation
    14. DownsizeDC.org, Inc.
    15. Electronic Frontier Foundation
    16. Electronic Privacy Information Center
    17. Federation of American Scientists
    18. The Freedom and Justice Foundation
    19. Government Accountability Project
    20. Liberty Coalition
    21. Muslim Advocates
    22. Muslim Public Affairs Council
    23. Muslimah Writers Alliance
    24. National Lawyers Guild/ National Office
    25. OMB Watch
    26. Open Society Policy Center
    27. Privacy Lives
    28. Republican Liberty Coalition
    29. Rutherford Institute
    30. September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
    31. Special Libraries Association
    32. U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation

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