Depending on which headline you read, President Obama either got failing grades or mixed grades on privacy when privacy groups issued their report card on privacy yesterday. And depending on which privacy group best reflects your priorities on privacy, the president is either earning average, decent, or incomplete grades or is failing.
Grant Gross of IDG News Service reports:
U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration received mixed grades from privacy groups after more than seven months in power, with the groups saying Obama has done little to change a surveillance-state environment created under former President George Bush.
The Obama administration gets a D overall for civil liberties, including a D- for electronic surveillance and a D for the way that state and local fusion centers run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security collect data on U.S. residents, said Chip Pitts, president of the board for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.
According to the online poll conducted by the Privacy Coalition prior to releasing the report card, however, those grades actually appear somewhat inflated. Although those likely to vote in the poll are more likely to have stronger views on privacy issues, the poll results indicate that many of those concerned about privacy feel that the president has been earning failing grades in important areas of privacy protection.
EPIC, the group that organized yesterday’s event, tended to be kinder to the president in its grading than some other groups. Giving the president a C+ on civil liberties in light of this administration’s continuance of the previous administration’s views on the “state secrets” defense and its attempts to shut down legal challenges to the warrantless surveillance program strikes this blogger as a case of serious grade inflation.