The Privacy Show

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Friday, January 04, 2013

(Sebastian Salamander/flickr)

A special hour on privacy - license plate readers, national security letters, surveilling yourself so the government doesn't have to, and OTM producer Sarah Abdurrahman on just how much we misunderstand our privacy online.

Our Privacy Delusions

We all claim to want privacy online, but that desire is rarely reflected in our online behavior. OTM producer Sarah Abdurrahman looks into the futile attempts we make to protect our digital identities.


Johannes Brahms - Violin Concerto op.77 in D Major

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The NCTC: Obama's "Pre-Crime Squad"?

Last March, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) was granted unprecedented power to collect data on ordinary U.S. citizens, data like flight records or lists of casino employees. Critics have likened the NCTC to the "Pre-Crime Squad" in the movie "Minority Report." Wall Street Journal reporter Julia Angwin talks with Bob about this dramatic shift in the intelligence community's power over US citizens.

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"If You’ve Got Nothing to Hide, You’ve Got Nothing to Fear"

Here's a common refrain in privacy discussions: “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.” There's also Google’s then-CEO Eric Schmidt famously saying:  "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place." Brooke speaks with George Washington University law professor Daniel Solove who says those types of arguments misunderstand privacy entirely.

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Data Collection Trade-Offs

In Philip Bobbitt's 2008 book Terror and Consent: The Wars for the 21st Century, he argues that data collection is an incredibly useful tool that’s fundamentally misunderstood by the public. Brooke talks with Bobbitt about that and the way the media and public also misunderstand warrants. Bobbitt, law professor at Columbia University is author most recently of The Garments of Court and Palace: Machiavelli and the World That He Made.


Build Buildings - Let's Go

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National Security Letters and Gag Orders

The most serious kind of subpoena - called a 'National Security Letter' - used to have a lifetime gag-order automatically attached. That is until Nicholas Merrill appealed his and won the right to talk about it. Despite 50,000 national security letters a year, there are only three organizations that have ever won the right to say they got one. In a segment that originally aired in January of 2011, Nick Merrill tells Bob why he's the exception and the rule.

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License Plate Readers and Your Privacy

Police car mounted license plate readers collect date, time and location information and are used by law enforcement around the country to help catch criminals. But when Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Eric Roper filed a Freedom of Information request for information on his own car, he got a lot more than he bargained for. In a segment that originally aired in August of 2012, Bob talks to Roper about how Minneapolis police and agencies across the country deal with this potentially sensitive location information.


The Art of Self-Surveillance

In 2002, artist and professor Hasan Elahi spent six months being interrogated off and on by the FBI as a suspected terrorist. In response to this experience, he created Tracking Transience, a website that makes his every move available to the FBI - and everybody else. In a segment that originally aired in November of 2011, Brooke talks to Elahi about the project.

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