NSA scandal
The letters "NSA" for National Security Agency and a mask of U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden are taped on a fence. (Reuters)

The US National Security Agency (NSA), which is blamed for breaching the privacy of people, governments, and businesses around the world through its controversial surveillance programme, is looking to appoint a 'Civil Liberties & Privacy Officer'.

The position is open for employees who are already working with the spy agency.

"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 job ad on the NSA website reads.

The officer "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."

Focused on the future, the new position with salary range up to $173,000 will ensure that civil liberties and privacy are protected in NSA's future operations, technologies, tradecraft, and policies.

Key duties of the officer include advising and guiding 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."

The person will also ensure that "protections are addressed as part of all internal strategic decision processes related to the agency's operations, key relationships, tradecraft, technologies, resources or policies."

Relevance of Job

The NSA has been widely criticised over its surveillance programmes that spied phone calls and internet activity of politicians, bureaucrats and businesses across the world.

The revelations about the NSA surveillance came from top-secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden, a former contractor at the agency, who is currently in exile in Russia.

The allegations against the NSA were first published by Rio de Janeiro-based journalist Glenn Greenwald in July, when he accused the agency of spying on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's online activity. Rousseff cancelled her official visit to North America following the development in a major hit for trade relations between the major economies in the Americas.

Meanwhile, China is probing a number of US tech firms after the leaked documents by Snowden revealed that the NSA hacked critical network systems at certain universities in China and Hong Kong.

In India, the spy agency was accused of accessing domestic networks of mobile carriers and tapping communications of businesses and politicians.

While the NSA and the US government defended them, saying the programmes are aimed at preventing terrorism, the questions of civil rights and privacy involved in the agency's actions are still troubling the US.

The NSA says that it does not count keeping track of phone conversations as surveillance. The newly-created post would be challenging in this scenario, as the officer will have to clearly distinguish between how the NSA and the common people define civil rights.