Constitutional Scholar Obama Needs Remedial Class

October 29, 2010

Constitutional scholar Barack Obama may need to go back to Harvard for a remedial class or two. Last week the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) issued the Administration its 2010 “Privacy Report Card.” The results were not good.

The Administration performed most poorly in the area of civil liberties. The report cites Obama as having “aggressively asserted the “state secrets” doctrine, expanded Fusion Centers and watch lists, and subjected all American air travelers to unconstitutional body searches in airports. Incredibly, the White House allowed the President’s Civil Liberties and Privacy Oversight Board to languish. Even the Bush administration made this a priority.”

Final Grade: D

The grades were a bit better when it came to cybersecurity and medical privacy, but the administration received an unimpressive “C” in consumer privacy. Here the administration was faulted for ignoring privacy complaints involving identity theft, security breaches, and online profiling.

According to its website, EPIC is a “public interest research center in Washington, D.C. It was established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional values.”

By all accounts, EPIC’s activities seem unencumbered by partisan ideological motivations. Check its funding sources on Its highly regarded newsletter,”The EPIC Alert,” is available free of charge, and currently has more than 17,000 subscribers. More information is available on their website.

This year EPIC has been working on many privacy related projects, including whole-body imaging in airports, privacy concerns involving the planned “Smart Grid” upgrade of the U.S. electrical system, privacy of text messaging, and lack of compliance by government agencies of Freedom of Information Act requests.

For more information about EPIC and its current projects, read this post by Andy Oram on O’Reilly Radar.

Previous post:

Next post: