The NSA’s hiring
Infamous US spy agency the NSA is looking to appoint a Civil Liberties Privacy Officer.
The challenging position is an internal posting, aimed at potential candidates who already work at the top secret spy agency. The new role parcels separate responsibilities of NSA’s existing Civil Liberties and Privacy (CL/P) protection programs in a single job function, as job ad 1039797 explains.
The NSA Civil Liberties Privacy Officer (CLPO) is conceived as a completely new role, combining the separate responsibilities of NSA’s existing Civil Liberties and Privacy (CL/P) protection programs under a single official. The CLPO will serve as the primary advisor to the Director of NSA for ensuring that privacy is protected and civil liberties are maintained by all of NSA’s missions, programs, policies and technologies. This new position is focused on the future, designed to directly enhance decision making and to ensure that CL/P protections continue to be baked into NSA’s future operations, technologies, tradecraft, and policies.
The NSA CLPO will consult regularly with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence CLPO, privacy and civil liberties officials from the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice, as well as other U.S. government, private sector, public advocacy groups and foreign partners.
Key responsibilities include advising NSA director Keith Alexander and the senior leadership team to ensure that all agency activities “appropriately protect privacy and civil liberties consistent with operational, legal, and other requirements.”
Another aspect of the job will include making sure “privacy protections are addressed as part of all internal strategic decision processes related to the agency’s operations, key relationships, tradecraft, technologies, resources or policies.”
The successful candidate ought to be “well known and highly regarded by US privacy and civil liberties protection professionals.” Substantial knowledge of telecommunications and internet privacy is required and legal experience is preferred.
The ongoing Snowden revelations about the NSA’s indiscriminate spying on private communications over the internet make the role particularly challenging. Anyone applying for the role would do well to familiarise themselves with the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s handy guide to decoding NSA doublespeak.
When senior NSA officials maintain that keeping track of phone conversations, for example, doesn’t count as surveillance, then any privacy officer is going to have a difficult job. In fact, we can think of few more difficult jobs since the post of Staff Rabbi to the Spanish Inquisition. ®