Obamacare Messaging, Fake Reviews Online, and More

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Conflicting messaging on Obamacare, why people leave fake reviews online, and India's effort to create the largest national ID program in history.

Battling Messages on Obamacare

The next phase of the Affordable Care Act goes into effect next week with the opening of new health insurance exchanges. Brooke and Bob take a look at the messaging war, from the conservative ads advising people to "opt out," to the Obama administration's push to educate people about the new law, and the media's role in covering this protracted battle.

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Which committee is responsible for providing oversight at our borders?

Bob reads listener responses to producer Sarah Abdurrhaman’s piece“My Detainment Story or: How I learned to Stop Feeling Safe in My Own Country and Hate Border Agents.”  Brooke talks to former congressman Lee H. Hamilton, co-author of a recent report calling for reform of the Department of Homeland Security, about how the DHS can, and should, work better.

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The Road to Nowhere (Near the Border)

Terry Bressi is a staff engineer at the University of Arizona's planetary lab. To get to Kitt Peak National Observatory, he must take an east to west running highway, which has an in-country immigration checkpoint. Bressi estimates he’s been stopped over 300 times at immigration checkpoints along this road, which at no point crosses the border, since 2008. Brooke talks with Bressi about how he began videotaping his interactions with the border agents. (The videos have become something of an internet sensation).

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Fake Online Reviews By Real Fans

This week, the New York Attorney General’s office announced that nineteen companies would be fined $350,000 for paying for fake reviews on sites like Yelp. But a study that came out earlier this year says that many fake online reviews, including the most negative ones, are often written by a brand's biggest fans. Bob talks to Duncan Simester, one of the authors of the study and a professor at MIT, about why a brand's fans would leave it bad reviews.

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India's Attempt to ID Every Indian

In a 2009 book called Imagining India, Indian tech billionaire Nandan Nilekani imagined a way to address India’s most vexing problems of corruption, poverty and lack of social services – a unique ID number for every Indian. 4 years later, India has undertaken the biggest ID program in human history. It’s called Aadhaar, and Nilekani oversees it. But trying to register 1.2 billion people, many for the first time, comes with serious privacy and data-collection concerns. OTM reporter Jamie York went to India to speak with Nilekani and lawyer Malavika Jayaram about the risk and reward of identifying every Indian.

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