Aufsichtsrat für Privatsphäre und Freiheitsrechte

“Privacy & Civil Liberties Oversight Board,” oversight in this case meaning not overlooking but supervising, or at least providing their boss with advice. The White House has had one of these since 2004 when Congress established it in response to a recommendation in the 9/11 Commission Report. The advisory board has five members, nominated by the President and approved by Congress. They “serve at the President’s pleasure.”

FederalRegister.gov lists some of the board’s history and the following responsibilities.

“The Board advises the President and other senior executive branch officials to ensure that concerns with respect to privacy and civil liberties are appropriately considered in the implementation of all laws, regulations, and executive branch policies related to efforts to protect the Nation against terrorism. This includes advising on whether adequate guidelines, supervision, and oversight exist to protect these important legal rights of all Americans. In addition, the Board is specifically charged with responsibility for reviewing the terrorism information sharing practices of executive branch departments and agencies to determine whether guidelines designed to appropriately protect privacy and civil liberties are being followed[.]”

What changes could have been made to this board or other institutions that might have prevented the last decade’s vast growth in U.S.-led collection—by U.S. government agencies, international private-sector companies and friendly foreign governments’ agencies—of domestic and foreign communications? What would have kept our intelligence industry manageable and monitored and transparent enough for a democracy?

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Freiheitsrechte

Germans are world-famous for being protective of personal privacy. Their constitutionally protected civil liberties are slightly different as well; here are the basic Freiheitsrechte, or “personal liberty rights,” according to de.Wikipedia:

Allgemeine Handlungsfreiheit: “General freedom of action” Art. 2 of the German Constitution [Grundgesetz, GG]. Art. 2 No. 1 appears to be the basis for what are known as the “Persönlichkeitsrechte,” “personality rights” protecting the “free unfolding” of the personality against interventions in a person’s life and freedom, even after death.

Recht auf Leben: “Right to life” Art. 2 No. 2 GG

Recht auf Freiheit: “Right to freedom” Art. 2 No. 2 GG

Recht auf körperliche Unversehrtheit: “Right to bodily integrity” Art. 2 No. 2 GG

Gewissensfreiheit: “Freedom of conscience” Art. 4 No. 1 GG

Religionsfreiheit: “Freedom of religion” Art. 4 No. 2 GG

Meinungsfreiheit: “Freedom of opinion” Art. 5 No. 1 GG

Versammlungsfreiheit: “Right to assemble” Art. 8 No. 1 GG

Vereinigungsfreiheit: “Freedom of association” Art. 9 No. 1 GG

Koalitionsfreiheit: “Freedom of coalition,” for employees and employers to form groups to promote their interests. Art. 9 No. 3 GG

Freizügigkeit: “Right of abode” to choose where you will live. Art. 11 No. 1 GG

Berufsfreiheit: “Freedom of profession” to choose your own jobs and the training for them. Art. 12 No. 1 GG

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Unabhängiger Revisor für die Terrorismusgesetzgebung

The U.K.’s “independent reviewer of terrorism legislation,” who is looking into the police’s invocation of Britain’s “antiterror” laws when they interrogated David Miranda for nine hours without a lawyer after he tried to change planes at Heathrow—a difficult connection airport even when you’re not terrorized by authorities. They confiscated Mr. Miranda’s computer, phone and all other electronic gear.

David Anderson, Q.C., has also been called “U.K. Terror Law Watchdog” in English-language headlines.

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