NSA Hires Privacy Officer

NSA Hires Privacy Officer

Rebecca Richards has her work cut out for her.

"This new position is focused on the future," said the White House back in September 2013, "designed to directly enhance decision making and to ensure that [civil liberties and privacy] protections continue to be baked into NSA's future operations, technologies, tradecraft, and policies." Baked might not have been the best word to use - I had to fight hard to resist a half-baked pun, and I doubt I'm alone - but now there's a new dough puncher in town: Rebecca Richards, the NSA's first ever privacy officer.

Richards is a former deputy official at the Department of Homeland Security's Privacy Office. Her responsibilities will include providing guidance to the NSA director and senior leadership, to ensure the agency complies with all privacy and legal requirements. She'll also be the one responsible for overseeing and explaining the NSA's privacy controls to the public.

The NSA created this role after the Snowden allegations, and the many revelations since. Whether or not the NSA needs an in-house privacy officer has been the subject of some debate. "In practice the role is often responsible for providing a justification for invasive surveillance programs," said Amie Stepanovich of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, back when the job announcement was made.

"NSA's Privacy Officer should be given sufficient independence from the agency in order to operate effectively, and should be built around principles of public transparency and accountability," Stepanovich added.

Source: Washington Post

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*Sigh* They basically asked this poor woman to do the impossible. Still, it's nice to see that SOMETHING is being done about the NSA being paranoid fuck wits who think that every facebook message might be hiding the latest terrorist plot to overthrow MERICA! Not much, but baby steps.

I'm sure Ms. Richards will do everything in her power to assure the privacy of the NSA.

This is just to placate the masses. Nothing will be done.

MinionJoe:
I'm sure Ms. Richards will do everything in her power to assure the privacy of the NSA.

Yep. She knows who signs her paychecks.

She's not there to keep them from doing it. She's either there to say "Look! We're trying!" or there to make sure they cover their tracks better.

All we did was shout. They suffered no actual consequences for their actions. Why would they stop?

This part is important for dispelling any misunderstandings:

"She'll also be the one responsible for overseeing and explaining the NSA's privacy controls to the public."

She's their publicist. Nothing more, nothing less.

It's a mild PR reaction towards what was an underwhelming outcry from people at the discovery their privacy and rights were being violated en masse.

erttheking:
They basically asked this poor woman to do the impossible.

Not really no, they are posting her as a PR muppet that will appear to work on things and possibly come up with nicely worded excuses for the same shit NSA has been and will continue doing.
If they were actually concerned with privacy laws they would simply follow them.

Well of course nothing will change: This isn't like a business where a public outcry can lead to reduced business. Hell, we can't even unelect these jokers since we didn't even elect them in the first place. And I don't know who we can elect to remove them since Obama isn't interested and it's not like the Republicans have a splendiferous track record of safeguarding civil liberties.

So this brings the total number of people at the NSA concerned with protecting privacy to one (even if it is a bullshit PR role). And how many there are working to destroy privacy every day? More than one I am sure.

So, let me get this straight:

To assure the privacy and security of the free world, the NSA are going to going to have to run by all their questionable judgement by... Becky?

Welp, panic over folks, we can all sleep safe at night knowing the world's basic rights are being carefully watched over by some guy.

(or, girl, as the case may be. Going to be honest, I'm not entirely sure "guy" if is gender-specific or not, I mean, I've seen people refer to a group of women as "you guys", so maybe it isn't?)

Yes, the lack of a privacy officer is obviously the reason why nobody likes the NSA.

Now, could someone please remind the higher echelons of the Taliban to hire a good PR-manager, I'm sure it'll do wonders for their public image...

Yay for hiring a new propaganda person. I can't wait to hear what silly justifications the NSA has for ignoring privacy all the time.

Daverson:
(or, girl, as the case may be. Going to be honest, I'm not entirely sure "guy" if is gender-specific or not, I mean, I've seen people refer to a group of women as "you guys", so maybe it isn't?)

You can refer to a group as "guys", though usually a full group of women is referred to by a feminine pronoun, while adding one or more guys allows you to use the masculine pronouns. Though you can also always be safe and use both pronouns (guys and gals).

*Pulls up TvTropes*

Huh... Reed Richards is Useless. What does THAT mean?

Also, are you seriously calling this EPIC?

Well... at least they're honest I guess?

I mean they are directly mention that they're continuing with the protections they have.

NSA Privacy Officer

WOW just COMPLETELY text book definition here!

oxymoron (plural oxymorons or oxymora)

1. A figure of speech in which two words with opposing meanings are used together intentionally for effect.

2. (general) A contradiction in terms.

There are two possibilities:

1) She tries in vain to control the NSA spying program. The NSA will mostly ignore her, and refuse to show her important information. After they ignore her demands for privacy they will use her as a mouthpiece to defend the NSA policies she had tried to prevent. In this instance it's basically like the 300 Spartans against the Persian Empire, except the Persian Empire has a mech army and missile launchers.

2) She's just a patsy for the NSA. She won't actually try to control the NSA at all, but when people try to attack the NSA they will use her as an example of how "transparent" the organization is. She will then come out and promise the people that their constitutional rights are being protected, and that there's a system in place to protect their privacy. However, the system and information is classified in order to protect national security. Otherwise terrorists or (insert bogey man here) could take advantage of the system and hurt innocent americans. The next time there is a Snowden leak she will claim that the organization has changed since Snowden left, and how the inclusion of a privacy advocate demonstrates this. Thus his leaks will be seen as "outdated" because the organization has taken steps to change. They will then go back to doing the same things they did before.

This is a good thing though, because it means that the NSA and Obama are feeling the pressure from the people. Hopefully we can get some REAL change in the future, and not another Bush clone.

Falterfire:
Well of course nothing will change: This isn't like a business where a public outcry can lead to reduced business. Hell, we can't even unelect these jokers since we didn't even elect them in the first place. And I don't know who we can elect to remove them since Obama isn't interested and it's not like the Republicans have a splendiferous track record of safeguarding civil liberties.

*raises hand tentatively*

We... we could vote Libertarian?

*Everyone proceeds to throw trash, claiming third parties are unelectable*

: P

So, is her office just going to be a press stand with a giant red DENY button taped onto the podium?
National security deals in dirty business part of which will always involve the citizenry, no matter how you slice it.

Good luck M(r)s. Richards, you're going to need it.

And nothing will happen at all because she's given no real power. Its something to placate people who fear NSA intrusion. Personally, I don't fear the NSA surveillance like some paranoid idiots do, but it doesn't mean that I like it, either. I highly doubt its effectiveness. She'd be more effective by slamming her head into her desk in a show of protest.

Fox12:
*raises hand tentatively*

We... we could vote Libertarian?

*Everyone proceeds to throw trash, claiming third parties are unelectable*

: P

Now if only there was a libertarian politician that I'd be willing to vote for.

Mr.K.:
If they were actually concerned with privacy laws they would simply follow them.

Everything they've been caught doing is legal. Constitutional? Maybe not, but its legal. The Patriot Act made a lot of actions they're doing now, that would've been wildly illegal fifteen years ago, legal now.

Providing "guidance"?

Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that amounts to "having f@$%-all power to actually pull the brakes on anything"?

Stepanovich's explanation also sounds uncomfortably like she's a one-woman version of one of those agencies that's dually tasked with monitoring an industry and promoting it (guess which half of that mission gets all the lobbyists...?)

How about, at the minimum, "This position comes with strong whistle-blower protections and will not be summarily gag-ordered for nebulous 'national security reasons' if it chooses to bring legally and/or constitutionally questionable operations to light"?

One way or another, it sounds like a lonely, sad position to occupy.

Between this and the poor lady who promoted to Leader of the Xbox Division, I'm starting to wonder why women keep ending up with these awful stations of authority. ;____;

lacktheknack:
Between this and the poor lady who promoted to Leader of the Xbox Division, I'm starting to wonder why women keep ending up with these awful stations of authority. ;____;

I might be a strategy to paint any opponents and their view points as chauvinistic in order to discredit them. For M$ it's to make their fanbois label anything Sony's bois say about her as that. For the NSA it might be a more subconscious "a women won't lie about what we do" deal. That's just a theory.

Still I predict they amount of exposures of NSA spying tactics is either going stay the same or go up, regardless of whether a "Privacy Officer" is in office.

"No no look, it was totally okay for us to wiretap you without a warrant! Our privacy officer said so!"

"What do you mean we shouldn't look through your email without evidence to support a reasonable suspicion? Our privacy officer totally signed off on it, look!"

Yeeeeah, I think not.

It doesn't really matter if she is actually genuinely interested in advocating privacy concerns and protecting the civil liberties of the electorate, either way nothing will change.

correct title: NSA hires Public Relation officer. Her job is to lul the masses Explain to the public what NSA is isnt doing.

I would be fine with the spying if it actually caught some god damn terrorists. But it doesn't. So, why does the NSA need to know all of my details?

 

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