%s1 / %s2

We're working on a new version of PRX. Want a sneak peek?

Playlist: SURVEILLANCE STATE

Compiled By: Erika McGinty

 Credit:
No text

Moyers & Company Show 216: Trading Democracy for ‘Security’

From Moyers & Company | Part of the Moyers & Company series | 53:00

What the Boston bombings and drone attacks have in common, and how secrecy leads to abuse of government power. Next on Moyers & Company.

Image001_small

The violent Boston rampage triggered a local and federal response that, according to journalist Glenn Greenwald, adds a new dimension to troubling questions about government secrecy, overreach, and what we sacrifice in the name of national security. Greenwald joins Bill on this week’s Moyers & Company to peel back layers that reveal what the Boston bombings and drone attacks have in common, and how secrecy leads to abuse of government power.

Also on the show, political scholars Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann tell Bill that Congress’ failure to make progress on gun control last week -- despite support for background checks from 90% of the American public – is symptomatic of a legislative branch reduced to dysfunction, partisan ravings and obstruction.

A year ago, the two -- who had strong reputations as non-partisan analysts – decided to speak truth to power with their book It's Even Worse Than It Looks:  How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism. In it, they argue that congressional gridlock is mostly the fault of the right wing of the Republican Party, which engages in “policy hostage-taking” to extend their political war against the president. What's more, Ornstein and Mann say, the mainstream media and media fact-checkers add to the problem by pretending both parties are equally to blame.

Moyers & Company Show 223: Big Brother’s Prying Eyes

From Moyers & Company | Part of the Moyers & Company series | 53:00

How do we protect our privacy when Big Government and Big Business morph into Big Brother? Next on Moyers & Company.

Bill_image_small_small

Whatever your take on the recent revelations about government spying on our phone calls and Internet activity, there’s no denying that Big Brother is bigger and less brotherly than we thought. What’s the resulting cost to our privacy -- and more so, our democracy? On the next Moyers & Company, Lawrence Lessig, professor of law and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and founder of Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, joins Bill to discuss the implications of our government’s actions and Edward Snowden’s role in leaking the information.

Few are as knowledgeable about the impact of the Internet on our public and private lives as Lessig, who argues that government needs to protect American rights with the same determination and technological sophistication it uses to invade our privacy and root out terrorists. “What do we put into place to check government officials to make sure they behave in a way that respects our most fundamental values?” Lessig asks.

 

A former conservative who’s now a liberal, Lessig also knows that the caustic impact of money is another weapon capable of mortally wounding democracy. His recent book, Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress -- and a Plan to Stop It, decries a pervasive “dependence corruption” in our government and politics that should sound a desperate alarm for both the Left and the Right. On the broadcast, Lessig outlines a radical approach to the problem that uses big money itself to reform big money-powered corruption.

 

How do we protect our privacy when Big Government and Big Business morph into Big Brother? Next on Moyers & Company.

 

Will We Ever Get Over 9.11?

From Open Source | Part of the Open Source with Christopher Lydon series | 58:34

Are we getting over 9.11? What is it doing to our character, our culture, our Constitution? We’ve been through the flags-everywhere stage, the foreign invasion response, the big build-up of surveillance and eavesdropping, interrogation, with torture – all in the name of security, but do we have a word for the fear we sense inside the new Security State?

Counterterrorism_small Here’s an awkward question that may be urgent: Are we getting over 9.11?  Will we ever? Do we want to?  Is it a scar by now, or a wound still bleeding? Is it a post-traumatic-stress disorder?  What is it doing to our character, our culture, our Constitution?  After a monstrous attack on the American superpower, is there anything like those five stages of individual grief — some version of the famous Kubler-Ross steps: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance?  We’ve been through the flags-everywhere stage, the foreign invasion response, the big build-up of surveillance and eavesdropping, interrogation, with torture – all in the name of security, but do we have a word for the fear we sense inside the new Security State?  Do we have a word for the anxiety that a War on Terror can feed on itself forever? A decade and a half out, are we a different country?

Guest List:

Steven Pinker
, experimental psychologist and  writer at Harvard University, author of The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.

Chas W. Freeman, Jr.
, the U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1989 to 1992, and author of America’s Misadventures in the Middle East and Interesting Times: China, America, and the Shifting Balance of Prestige,

Pico Iyer
, British-born novelist and travel writer, essayist for Time magazine, and author of  The Man Within My Head about the late great novelist Graham Greene.
 

One Nation Under Surveillance

From Open Source | Part of the Open Source with Christopher Lydon series | 58:37

It’s the artists — from Orwell of Nineteen Eighty-Four, to Philip Dick and Margaret Atwood, to Trevor Paglen and Banksy — who raise the big questions: about voyeurism, about safety and risk, and the essence of our public and private selves. Is there a book or a movie that tells us what kind of world are we living in, or where the surveillance state begins and ends? What impact does mass surveillance have on our selves, on our national psyche, on the way we interact with each other, on the art we make and the way we live?

Survie_small

GUEST LIST

What do we envision when we envision the surveillance state?

The latest item in the Snowden surveillance files comes from  Barton Gellman of The Washington Post, who tells us that the messages of law-abiding Americans outnumber ‘legitimate’ targets of NSA surveillance nine to one. We’re talking about love stories now, trysts, hook-ups, mental-health crises, political and religious conversions, financial nightmares. They have no ‘intelligence value’, but the NSA is saving them all the same.

Still, there doesn’t seen to be any real outrage. We the People under surveillance seem to be confused about how much our liberty and our privacy are worth in exchange for convenience  and connectedness. We beg to be followed on Twitter and stalked on Facebook, even as we’re wonder, in an abstract way, how bad it would be to pop up on a government watch list.

Life of the Law #32 Privacy Issues

From Life of the Law | Part of the Life of the Law series | 17:42

You’re driving your car down a street and as you pass, a camera takes a photo of your license plate. Who is taking the photo and what are they doing with the information? Life of the Law's Cyrus Farivar has our story.

Iseeyou-plate_small

If it weren’t for the photograph, Mike Katz-Lacabe probably wouldn’t remember getting out of his car on November 14, 2009.

“The timing was just magnificent: where my daughters and I were getting out of the car in our driveway,” he said. “There is a very clear image of that, you can recognize all of us, getting out of the car in the driveway.”

The San Leandro Police Department captured this photo of Mike Katz-Lacabe and his daughters in front of their home on November 14, 2009. Credit: Mike Katz-Lacabe

The San Leandro Police Department captured this photo of Mike Katz-Lacabe and his daughters in front of their home on November 14, 2009.
Credit: Mike Katz-Lacabe

The photograph was taken by the San Leandro, California police department. Or more accurately, by an automatic camera that sits on the top of a San Leandro patrol car, and constantly snaps pictures of cars in the city.

Katz-Lacabe has never been convicted of a crime: he’s not a suspect in any case—he’s just a normal, taxpaying, married, father of two. He’s lived in this San Francisco Bay Area town for over 20 years, and has been on the school board since 2006. In his spare time he enjoys hiking with his daughters.

And yet, the San Leandro police department has what amounts to a family photo album of him and his car.  More than 100 pictures taken between 2008 and 2010.

“There was one of me by the library, there was one of my car parked by a friends’ house,” Katz-Lacabe noted.

If you drive a car and live in an American city, well, your local police department probably has an album of you, too.

License plate reader technology has been around since the 1980s. But about a decade ago, police and other law enforcement in the US started using license plate readers to track cars. These specialized cameras scan every single car that passes in front of the camera, in any direction, and they typically do it at astonishing speeds: 60 license plates per second.

The camera automatically checks the license plate against a ‘hot list’ of stolen cars. Police can use the scanned information, plus the date, time, and precise GPS location—to pull a car over. Or they can just keep the information. Sometimes forever.

At a City Council meeting last fall, San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli explained how the city has been using its three license plate readers.

“[We were] able to ID home robbery suspect by entering info,” she said. “In January 2013, [we caught a] wanted felon after hit from LPR, all on one vehicle we’re talking about. May 2011, robbery suspect…homicide suspect, wanted in Nevada, and arrested in 2011.”

She says using cameras has helped reduce crime all around the Bay Area.

“What we’re seeing is other systems, coming online: Piedmont, Alameda Co Sheriff, Oakland, crime can be displaced. Look at cities around us, and the concern is the displacement of crime into San Leandro.”

The question—as with much of law enforcement—is how to balance protecting a community with protecting our constitutional right to privacy.

“Does it invade reasonable expectations of privacy for the police to monitor our whereabouts when we’re in public spaces?” asked Linda Lye , an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. “It’s a really fascinating intellectual and constitutional question of the notion—does privacy in public space exist? Civil liberties advocates really argue vehemently yes.”

We went driving around the city border between Oakland and Piedmont to look for Piedmont’s license plate readers. It didn’t take us long before we found the cameras pointed down at her car, mounted on overhead poles.

Her argument is that somebody like Mike Katz-Lacabe has a right to privacy, even if he’s standing on the sidewalk, and I should have that right, too, even if I drive down the street.

“Just because I’m outside my private house doesn’t mean I’ve surrendered all rights to the state to be monitored and tracked as I go about my daily life engaging in no wrongdoing whatsoever and in some cases engaging in constitutionally-protected activity,” she added. “So the law enforcement, the traditional 4th amendment line has been drawn between a public space and a private space. If you’re walking on the street, the police don’t need a search warrant.”

The Fourth Amendment —that’s the one that protects us from illegal search and seizure—is usually interpreted to mean that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in public. In 1983, the Supreme Court concluded in US v. Knotts , that “a person traveling in an automobile on public thoroughfares has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his movements from one place to another.”

License plates are obviously visible in public. So in theory, it’s totally fine to use machines to capture information about a license plate. Even if those machines capture that information orders of magnitude faster than any person could.

There have been a number of lawsuits that uphold the use of license plate readers. And many in law enforcement see no problem with them. In 2006, a New York State agency told local police it saw “no impediment to the use of a license plate reader by law enforcement.”

But three years later, the International Association of Chiefs of Police warned that license plate readers could raise privacy issues. The group advised law enforcement to restrict use of the data to what it calls “official use only.”

The ACLU’s Linda Lye says her biggest worry is about is the so-called ‘mosaic theory.’ This idea says it’s possible to get a pretty clear picture of a person by putting together lots of small bits of information.

“Like clockwork, do they go home at 8 o’clock every night but then every now and then on a Friday evening they don’t go home?” Lye asked. “On Sunday morning they’re a faithful churchgoer, but then on some Sundays they don’t go to church. So what does this tell us about infidelity, about medical conditions, about political associations?”

Before license plate readers, the only way for the cops to know where any of us were at any given time was to notice us (or our license plates) and somehow make a record of it. That was something that rarely, if ever, happened. Now, though, cops can easily get a fairly accurate—if rough picture—of where we’ve been over time.

That can be useful if you’re trying to find out where a bad guy hangs out, or whether an alibi holds water.

But it could also let police draw wrong conclusions. I often drive through a section of East Oakland that is known for great Mexican taco trucks—and a lot of night-time prostitution. An overzealous cop could easily misinterpret my love of tacos for a love of something less savory.

“In the pre-technological era, resources was a basic, natural protection for privacy that law enforcement simply didn’t have the resources to compile detailed information about us unless they had a very good reason,” Lye concluded. “Now, it can be done on the basis of idle curiosity.”

There’s also a very real question about how useful all this data is. One study suggested that nearly 40-percent of big police departments use readers.

But much like the NSA, which collects meta-data from cell phones and elsewhere, law enforcement now has more information than it can realistically use. Plus, everywhere these readers are used, every car is likely getting scanned many many times. In the case of San Leandro, a town of just 85,000 people, one license plate reader on one car captured one million records in a single year.

Last year, the ACLU looked at data from Maryland and found that out of 42 million scans, the hit rate was 0.2 percent. Take out minor violations like expired registrations, and the hit rate goes even lower: for every million plates read, 47 were flagged for possibly being a stolen car.

It’s hard to know how other states stack up, because there’s so much secrecy around the use of these readers. I requested data on my car from the police departments in Oakland—where I live—Berkeley, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and my hometown: Santa Monica, California. I also requested the same data from Sheriff’s offices in nine counties across the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

In some cases, such as the LAPD and LA Sheriff’s Department, they refused to even tell me whether they had such data at all.

Earlier this month, the City of Piedmont (which is right next to Oakland) refused to give me the license plate reader records on my own car, citing privacy reasons .

It seems that this technology is only going to grow. But it’s also easy to get hung up on the use of license plate readers.

New technology, like facial recognition, is being developed all the time. Which will make it easier to identify us by other means. And that me wonder: if there’s no expectation of privacy about where my license plate has been, what about my face?

Cyrus Farivar [suh-ROOS FAR-ih-var] is the Senior Business Editor at Ars Technica, and is also an author and radio producer. He first began reporting on license plate readers 2012 and has become, admittedly, a little obsessed. Read his prior work on this subject here:

The cops are tracking my car, and yours (July 18, 2013)

Your car, tracked: the rapid rise of license plate readers (August 15, 2012)

Minnesota modifies liberal open records law to make car location data private (March 19, 2013)

PART 2

How has surveillance changed the way we live with the law? Elizabeth Joh teaches Criminal Procedure at UC Davis Law School. In an interview with Life of the Law’s Executive Producer, Nancy Mullane, Joh says an increase in the use of private police and surveillance in the US has made many people numb to the fact they are being watched.

Policing by Numbers: Big Data and the Fourth Amendment, 89 Wash. L. Rev. 35 (2014) (symposium).

From Anti-Drone Burqas To Face Cages: What Artists Are Showing Us About Surveillance and the Law, The Life of the Law, April 2, 2014.

Will Big Data Change How Police Do Their Job?, The Life of the Law, Nov. 6, 2013.

Maryland v. King: Three concerns about policing and genetic information, Genomics Law Report, Sept. 19, 2013.

Top Image Credit: Aurich Lawson

Between The Lines Radio Newsmagazine for the week ending January 30, 2015

From Scott Harris | Part of the Between The Lines Radio Newsmagazine series | 29:00

This week's summary of under-reported news followed by these interviews: FBI 9/11 Whistle-blower Coleen Rowley: Post-Charlie Hebdo Massacre Rush to Expand Warrantless Surveillance Counterproductive; Minority Communities Excluded, Marginalized from U.S. Banking System; Remembering the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights March

Btllogo200x200prx_small This week's summary of under-reported news followed by these interviews: Post-Charlie Hebdo Massacre Rush to Expand Warrantless Surveillance Counterproductive, interview with Coleen Rowley, former FBI special agent and 9/11 whistle-blower, conducted by Scott Harris; Minority Communities Excluded, Marginalized from U.S. Banking System, interview with Mike Leyba, communications director with United for a Fair Economy, conducted by Scott Harris; Remembering the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights March, interview with John Pawelek, professor at the Yale University School of Medicine, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

101: Keeping Tabs: Data & Surveillance in America [rebroadcast], 5/30/2015

From BackStory with the American History Guys | Part of the BackStory with the American History Guys Weekly Episodes series | 54:00

The NSA’s bulk collection of American phone records — declared illegal earlier this month by a federal appeals court — is about to end abruptly if Congress can’t reach a compromise on how to wind the program down. On this episode of BackStory, Brian, Ed and Peter explore how Americans have kept tabs on each other... What kind of information have government officials and private interests collected on U.S. citizens, and what level of scrutiny have Americans in earlier eras accepted?

Censustaker-255x255_small The NSA’s bulk collection of American phone records — declared illegal earlier this month by a federal appeals court — is about to end abruptly if Congress can’t reach a compromise on how to wind the program down. On this episode of BackStory, Brian, Ed and Peter explore how Americans have kept tabs on each other... What kind of information have government officials and private interests collected on U.S. citizens, and what level of scrutiny have Americans in earlier eras accepted?

Taking Liberties

From Matt Ehling | 58:54

Documentary on national security policy and civil liberties

Default-piece-image-0 "Taking Liberties" is a one hour documentary that examines the impact of four decades of national security and law enforcement policy on the Bill of Rights. From the Drug War to the War on Terror, government actions have raised concerns about challenges to the individual liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. "Taking Liberties" examines this confluence, with commentary from across the political spectrum - from Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America, to Nancy Chang of the Center for Constitutional Rights. "Taking Liberties" also includes interviews with journalists and academics who have examined the Constitutional and policy issues that underlie this phenomenon.

The Not-So-Private Lives of Hoosiers

From WFHB | Part of the Standing Room Only series | 58:01

On December 2, 2015, the ACLU of Indiana hosted a panel discussion on the intersection of digital security, government surveillance and privacy rights titled “The Not-So-Private Lives of Hoosiers: How Technology is Threatening our Privacy.” The four-person panel consisted of Indiana University faculty member Christine Von Der Haar, who has experienced governmental surveillance first-hand, Fred Cate, Vice President for Research at IU and founding director of IU's Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, and IU McKinney Law School professors Scott Shackelford and Kelly Eskew. Ms. Eskew previously worked for the ACLU. Herald Times Editor Bob Zaltsberg acted as moderator.

Badge-wo-tagline_small

On December 2, 2015, the ACLU of Indiana hosted a panel discussion on the intersection of digital security, government surveillance and privacy rights titled “The Not-So-Private Lives of Hoosiers: How Technology is Threatening our Privacy.” The four-person panel consisted of Indiana University faculty member Christine Von Der Haar, who has experienced governmental surveillance first-hand, Fred Cate, Vice President for Research at IU and founding director of IU's Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, and IU McKinney Law School professors Scott Shackelford and Kelly Eskew. Ms. Eskew previously worked for the ACLU. Herald Times Editor Bob Zaltsberg acted as moderator.

James Bamford: Inside the National Security Agency (Lecture)

From KUOW | Part of the Speaker's Forum series | 54:00

The National Security Agency was once nicknamed "No Such Agency." For years, the U.S. government wouldn't admit it existed. James Bamford is the author of the only two books ever written about it.

Default-piece-image-2 The NSA is thought to be the largest intelligence agency in the world, and it's probably the most secretive. The NSA uses futuristic supercomputers to eavesdrop on people. It collects millions of phone calls and emails every hour. In 2002, President Bush gave the NSA the authority to tap U.S. citizens' communications without a warrant. James Bamford joined the American Civil Liberties Union's lawsuit against the NSA's warrantless wiretap program. James Bamford was the keynote speaker at the American Civil Liberties Union's annual membership conference on February 24, 2007. We'll also hear President Bush defend the NSA wiretap program on Sept 7, 2006. We'll also hear an excerpt of Alberto Gonzales' testimony before the Senate Judiciary committee on January 17, 2007 in defense of the program. Fits a 1 hour program with a 5 min news hole.

In the Name of Security

From L.A. Theatre Works | Part of the L.A. Theatre Works series | 01:57:57

Two famous spy cases are re-opened - the trial of the Rosenbergs and the trial of Alger Hiss - that rocked America between 1948 and 1954.

In-the-name-of-security__small__small The House Un-American Committee’s hearings on loyalty and Communism riveted the nation. For some, the hearings were part of a patriotic duty to ferret out Communists; for others, they were dangerous witch hunts. In the Name of Security by Peter Goodchild uses exclusive interviews and dramatic recreations to bring these infamous hearings to life. Starring David Hyde-Pierce and John de Lancie.

Edward Snowden and the Ethics of Whistleblowing

From Philosophy Talk | 53:59

The first radio interview with the most renowned whistleblower of our era.

Rmff2zv_small You might think we each have a moral duty to expose any serious misconduct, dishonesty, or illegal activity we discover in an organization, especially when such conduct directly threatens the public interest. However, increasingly we are seeing whistleblowers punished more harshly than the alleged wrongdoers, who often seem to get off scot-free. Given the possibility of harsh retaliation, how should we understand our moral duty to tell the truth and reveal wrongdoing? Should we think of whistleblowers as selfless martyrs, as traitors, or as something else? Do we need to change the laws to provide greater protection for whistleblowers? John and Ken welcome our era's most renowned whistleblower, former CIA analyst Edward Snowden.

CITIZENFOUR -- Laura Poitras Interview

From Andrea Chase | Part of the Behind the Scenes series | 18:35

Laura Poitras talks irony, leaps of faith, and being nominated for the Homeland Security Watch List.

Citizenfourpoitrasfb_small

Laura Poitras was hoarse the day I interviewed her for CITIZENFOUR. Her remarkable eye-witness documentary about Edward Snowden leaking NSA secrets to the press resulted in everyone wanting to talk to her.  When we spoke, though, her dedication to bringing the truth to light was intact.

I started by asking what it was like to be the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, among other honors, and to be on the Homeland Security Watch List simultaneously.  We moved on to the leaps of faith involved in making her documentaries in general, and believing Snowden in particular when he first contacted her anonymously as the Citizen Four of the title. When I asked about the odd sort of balance her life has between faith and paranoia, she schooled me with a precis on what paranoia is and isn’t, and why she doesn’t succumb to it. A remarkable outlook from someone who consulted lawyers before meeting with Snowden, and was then able to take their advice with remarkable good humor.

We went on to talk about the implications of an antique Espionage Act on future whistleblowers, and the steps being taken in the court system to overcome them. It’s emblematic of her film as a whole: exposing wrongdoing, and then seeing the positive results, albeit slow in coming, of one person’s courage to speak up, and another person’s courage in documenting it.

CITIZENFOUR is the third, along with MY COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY and THE OATH, in Poitras’ trilogy about the post-9/11 world. I can only hope that we see her next trilogy soon. In the meantime, she has joined forces with Glenn Greenwald, her collaborator in breaking the Snowden story along with The Guardian’s Ewan MacAskill, and Jeremy Scahill (DIRTY WARS) to form TheIntercept.com where she can continue to break news, as well as understanding the human consequences of government policies through people and through images as well as words. And that the role of journalism should be adversarial to power.

Look! Up in the Sky! It's a Drone!

From Burton Cohen | 01:00:00

Without a public hearing, Congress recently ordered the FAA to allow the use of domestic drones.

41467_1016176555_1666947_n_small Drones are not just for Pakistan anymore, they are coming soon to a neighborhood near you. There is now a large supply, and thanks to grants from Homeland Security, there's also a growing demand for the domestic use of small, weaponless surveillance aircraft, often weighing less than five pounds. Burt Cohen's guest Jefferson Morely discovered that congress was only too happy to do the bidding of the security industrial complex and recently, without public hearing, authorised the FAA to change its rules to allow the use of drones here in the backyards of America. Privacy laws are in serious need of updating.

More Police Surveillance Expected on B-Line Trail (Extended Cut)

From WFHB | Part of the Daily Local News series | 26:32

Last week the city of Bloomington announced new, extra patrols will be assigned to the downtown area, as well as along the B-Line Trail.

Badge-wo-tagline_small Last week the city of Bloomington announced new, extra patrols will be assigned to the downtown area, as well as along the B-Line Trail. Police Chief Mike Diekhoff also says surveillance cameras will be used more extensively, although he wouldn't say where the cameras will be placed. The new measures are targeted at panhandling, public intoxication, and vandalism. Assistant News Director Joe Crawford spoke with Police Chief Diekhoff about the changes, for today's WFHB feature exclusive.

The Business of Fear

From Business Matters | 59:00

Fear can be the most powerful motivating factor in business and politics. This week, Business Matters explores how fear can be manipulated, overcome and understood.

Logo_small We’ll meet someone whose been studying the media’s use of fear for decades and an entrepreneur who explains how fear can sometimes have positive effects.  We’ll help you develop the tools to understand how it’s used, who uses it, and how to remain unafraid when you are bombarded with fear messaging.