tv The Communicators CSPAN July 1, 2013 8:00pm-8:31pm EDT
>> we want to talk about legislation being introduced in congress. jared polis is a democrat from colorado. representative pollis, do you start by telling us about the electronic privacy act. >> a lot of these laws were essentially written before the advent of the -- before the popularization of e-mail, of other kinds of communications, kind of written for the telephonic era. we're looking at an area where, for instance, irs's able to read old e-mails. and several things hit at once on e-mail privacy and communications privacy. so we have several bills. that address different aspects
of this. essentially digital communications -- that includes through skype, which i replacing telephone, conventional e-mail -- is becoming commonplace, and in fact displaced in many ways telephone communication. we have a totally different set of laws around protecting people's private phone conversations than we do, for instance, for protecting their private skype conversations, even to the they're the same thing to the consumer. >> representative polis, is postal mail, phone calls, e-mails, treated the same by the law when it comes to privacy? >> postal mail is a different category. physical parcels have in fact the most severe criminal penalties for any type of tampering. on the continuum, telephonic conversations, which typically require a warrant to listen into now, under the patriot acts we have issues with foreign nationals speaking to
hernandezs. but when two americans are talking to one another, that is the most protected end. a lot of the digital communications, e-mail or skype, falls somewhere in the middle. i argue it should be more similar to telephone conversations and kind of the level of protection we have, whether there has to about a reasonable due process around any law enforcement intersection. >> did you intro disthis legislation in response to some of the revelations about the nsa? >> the nsa issue is -- the answer is one piece of legislation, yes, but it's a different issue. the nsa issue is not around listening to conversations. it's about phone records, and it's phone records of americans talking to foreign nationals. it is permitted under the patriot act. now, i oppose the patriot act in part because i knew this sort of violations of privacy were allowed. i do support either repealing the patriot act, or if we want
to at least find a better balance between privacy and protecting our country. i know we can do it. look, you know, there's no doubt that on the intelligence side of things they would rather have access to everything. if we were to a totalitarian state we in fact probably would be safer from terrorist attack, but the question is you don't want to give up what makes your country special, your freedom and that's how the terrorists win, we give up our freedom. so we need a fix on the patriot act. i'm happy to talk about either repealing it and goings' in a different direction, or a narrow fix around a specific revelations of snowden. >> so, to go to the e-mail question, though, representative, are our e-mails private at this point? do they need to be subpoenaed? how can government officials read those? >> the biggest concern that we're addressing around e-mail has to do with the irs' ability
to look at old e-mails. and again, that's without any warrant. it simply -- they're able to do that, whereas they're not able to without a court order access phone conversations or recordings or things of that nature. e-mails don't have the same protection. so, what we're trying to do there is, again, create some kind of due process around e-mail communications, which would also include ridow e-mail communications, for example, a skype or a peer-to-peer network association. anything over the internet we argue should have a similar level of protection. not exactly the same. but a similar level of protection to anything you too over the telephone. and we have procedures in place that work and are tested for when the government, whether it's law enforcement or the irs or any other entity, does need to get a phone record there are absolutely ways to do that. it has not impeded criminal investigations in the past and we just need to apply a similar
set of regulations to how the government can access e-mail video communications over tcip. >> what is the significance of 180 days? >> it's simply in the law. there's no great reason why it was there we're talking about e-mails that are older than 180 days and the different procedures for accessing them. it's a -- i don't know how they came up -- why that's the cutoff point, to tell the truth. >> what is the opposition to protecting e-mails? >> i would say in general -- again, anybody on the law enforcement or intelligence side would argue, it's quicker if we had access to everything. why not listen to every phone conversation and have a camera in everybody's home, have a track where everybody's car is so you know who they visit. it's a slippery slope. of course these things are better from a strict law enforcement perspective. if you have a tracker on every person, but it's at the expense
of our liberty and freedom and price. so she challenge for policymakers is to strike the right balance, we have safety, the public safety, but we also allow privacy and freedom. so, again, i argue that we're too far towards the police state totalitarian side of things with regard to insufficient checks and balances around government checking e-mails, government finding out phone records, those -- sorts of things, and then balance it, even duduring the hoot of the cold war, as well as in the '80s, it's simply looking at a balance, a similar standard for intercepting phone calls. >> representative -- >> or a search warrant of member 's home. >> representative polis, we with regard to you e-mail legislation, is it bipartisan? do you foresee action?
>> we talked about a couple of bills, the e-mail, phone records. these are all bipartisan pieces of legislation. every one of them. we have strong support from both sides. i think what increasely many republicans have found, who heaven might have supported niece measures in the past, they've say we have a chief executive we don't trust or like and why did we give him this power. i asked my friend before signing this much power to the executive branch, realize we don't have control over future chief executives, even though i have great confidence in president obama, i don't who his successor will be. we have to make sure we have the chengs can and balances and legislative override and we should be wary of sign over authority because when authority is assigned, they will use it. >> aren'ttive polis is in his third term in congress, a dem from colorado. what's your background? >> i was a tech entrepreneur before i came to congress, and i
also served on the school board and started a couple charter schools. >> as a tech entrepreneur, do you fine that congress' level of understanding some of these issues -- where is it? >> you know, many of these issues in addition to being inherently important for privacy are also important for what we call the tech ecosystem, the whole growth of the internet, the confidence that people have putting their private information in the internet. if people don't know where the information is going it will hurt the growth of companies, people will be hesitant to share information because they think the dwight be getting ahold of it. so hurt the by internet economy. members of congress are become mortgage and more net savvy and they're running apps and using skype. it's not universal yet but i don't think congress is too far behind the curve as the general population. >> i wanted to ask you about another piece of legislation you have introduced, the unlocking
technology of 2013 act. what is that? >> another bipartisan bill that overturns a decision by the librarian of congress, who actually works for us, that criminalizes cell phone unlocking, if you can believe that. this is basically when you buy a cell phone, and sometimes there's -- you have some contractual obligations. we don't talk about interfering with that. but criminalizes the act of delocking your own cell phone or putting in another cart or changing it to a different number. absolutely absurd and unlocked cell phones are country in many countries. many legitimate reasons. might want to have two or three numbers on the same phone. might depending on service be verizon in one area and t-mobile in another. and yet those are actually criminalized and also prevents the innovation around cell phone applications that are being developed, so is this bipartisan bill would simply overrule the decision of the librarian of
congress and prevent people from going to jail for just unlocking their cell phones. >> why is the librarian of congress involved with cell phones? >> like a lot of members was quite surprised to find out we had a librarian with these kinds of powers. i knew we had a library of congress and knew there was librarian but didn't realize they had this top of broad authority. the argument is that this is to -- because of some treaty obligations we have, and because of certain interpretation of laws that congress has passed in the past. but again, we argue it was not a necessary decision there was a specific date -- bill the way, your unlocked cell phones prior to -- let's call it january 2013 -- if you have an unlocked cell phone from prior to that date, it's legal. so only unlocking cell phones after the date this took effect, it's illegal. so makes no sense from a policy perspective. i don't know if some foreigns
made this based on some -- with magnifying glasses. but hopefully there's some common sense prevail and we can repeal that. >> is there a sense in congress that this is something that should pass? >> if we can get enough attention, peter. it's one of these things that constituents hopefully are calling in. we have gotten several calls. a lot of the digital freedom groups are engaged with this, as are different tech companies. got to get on the agenda of members of congress to show this is important. this puts america's innovation at a competitive disadvantage to the many countries that don't have any criminal penalty for cell phone unlocking in europe and elsewhere. >> the chairman -- >> one more thing. if the government actually starts putting kids in jail over that, that will also attract attention. so this is something that prosecutors can do, and might just take a few cases of, you know, 19-year-old unlocked her cell phone and suddenly find themselves in jail, and the
public attention can be focused in that way issue it would force congress 0 act. >> representative polis, the chairman of the. >> host: dish area also introduced a unlocking phone bill. >> we have a bipartisan proposal that i've been working on, and we're happy to look at other members' as well. the broader the interest, the more likely this can move forward, and again, i'm happy to work with representative goodlatte and others to reach this goal. nobody should go to prison for simply unlocking their cell phone with no criminal intent no other crime committed. >> as we look at the other telecommunications legislate on capitol hill, we have been beyond by congressman jared polis, cell phone unlooking and e-mail privacy. thank you for your time, sir. >> thank you. >> and now joining us is representative justin amash. a republican from michigan. he serves on the oversight in government reform committee.
representative amash, about we start talking about specific legislation, what was your reaction to the ap phone records and the nsa revelations? >> i was quite upset about them. might say i was outraged about it. it's the kind of thing that we have feared has been going on. but didn't have strong evidence, didn't have anything out in the public, at least, and it's the first time we're seeing that the government is dramatically overreaching, collecting phone records from americans, not just journalists but all americans, and trying to use it to essentially track our whereabouts is the ultimate direction this is going. >> so, in reaction to that, what legislatetively have you proposed. >> the telephone records protection act that would require a court order to go after phone records like the ap
phone records and work with representative john conyers, the ranking member of the judiciary committee, democrat, and we have put together a bill called the liberty act, and what we try to do is narrow the scope of the patriot act so it will only target people actually under investigation, rather than sweeping up the records of all americans, and also creates more openness so that members of congress can receive the classified court cases, court opinions, being released by the fisa court and that only members of the intelligence committee have access to right now. and also, having unclassified summaries of the cases available to the public. >> in that liberty bill that you just talked about, narrowing it to the person under investigation. what is swept up now, everything? >> right now the way the government is interpreting the patriot act, they are treating all telephone records as relevant to the investigation of terrorism.
so they are gathering and collecting everyone's telephone records. they obviously can use it to track americans. they claim they are not using it but that's more of a policy prohibition on their part than anything else. so we want to prevent this kind of collection of records. we believe it violates the constitution, violates the fourth amendment, and we dent want this kind of information being held by the government. >> so, now, do you and john conyers have access to the same information? he's been here 40 years or so. do you have the same level0s of clearance? >> technically all members of congress have top secret clearance, but because of administrative decisions and -- this is on the part of congress as well as the obama administration -- not all members of congress have access to all of the court opinions. not all members of congress have access to all of the classified documents. when we get the opportunity for
a classifiedor classified information being presented to us, we jan get an empty room and a huge stack of papers we have to sift through, many 100, 200, 300 page office documents with no assistance. well, that's not really the kind of disclosure we would like as members of congress. we want to represent our constituents and to do that we need a fair disclosure. >> when it comes to the liberty bill, you and congressman conyers -- how many cosponsors at this point? >> we're up to about 38 cosponsors. we continue to add them every day, and it's a very bipartisan bill. it has members of congress who are high-ranking democrats, it's got republicans who are high-ranking, and rank-and-file members on both sides. >> what's the opposition? what are they saying about the bill? >> well, the opposition will say that the collection of these records is constitutional. they often point to a court case from then 1970s, smith v.
maryland, which is not on accident is completely distinguishable from this situation. in that case the government was going after one person who was under suspicion, and the operation was for a limited period of time to go after his phone records using a very primitive device, pin register. right now we have computers that can calculate expansive data, and the government is sweeping up everyone's records. so the case is not really on point. completely distinguishable, and i'm very confident that the supreme court would strike down what we're doing right now. >> does it take your bill any teeth out of fisa and the secret court proceedings? >> no. just makes the court more transparent. our bill would not affect what the fisa court is doing. it would make it more transparent. when it comes to the reinvestigations to the patriot act, we would narrow it from just relevant information, so the government can't --
currently just goes after relevant information. they're sweeping up everyone's telephone records and other records. it allows them to search all business records under the patriot act. and we would change that to relevant and material and the government would have to fate artic allable facts to go after things in and the information has to pertain to the person under investigation. so that would narrow it so you can only gather records connected to someone who is actually under investigation. >> have you've gotten reaction from the leadership on the bill? >> have not heard from the leadership. i'm hopeful they'll provide support it's a bipartisan effort. >> working with democrat representative jared polis, the telephone records protection act. what does that? >> that deals more directly with
the ap phone records issue. currently the government only has to fed an administrative subpoena to go after phone records like in ap phone records case. that's internal, all through the executive branch. what we would require is for the government to go to a court and get a court order showing that the material -- that the information is relevant and material to an investigation. that would narrow the scope of the search, and would still provide the government the information they need. if the jump says you need that information, the judge can provide that authority. >> are current laws, like the patriot act, compatible with current and future technology? >> no. current laws aren't really compatible with the changes in technology, and that's part of the problem we're facing right now. and we're also facing the issue of how to apply the constitution to current technology. the original meaning of the fourth peopled -- fourth
amendment is that your papers and effects are free from government searches. now most of our papers and effects are digital, kept on some third-party device or server. how do we apply the constitution to that information? i believe the founders would say that's information that is still private as long as you have an agreement with the third-party provider they're going to keep your information private, it's treated as your private desk, your private place, and the government can't touch it. >> what is the liberty caucus. >> the house liberty caucus that meets every couple weeks and i'm the charm of the caucus. a group of about a couple dozen members. we probably gate dozen members who show up at any particular meeting. there's lunch meetings, and sometimes we have specialists. we are going to have judge napolitano on this week, and it's just a group of members trying to get the information out there about bills coming up, to make sure we have pro liberty
perspectivetive on issues. >> we have been talking with with justin amash, from michigan. a republican. >> now joining us on the community indicators is representative michael capuano, i want to ask you about a couple pieces of legislation you're sponsoring beginning with the "we are watching you act." >> it is a bill that will simply require company that put devices in your home, such as a cable box, that are capable of having cam contracts mike row row phones and 3-midging to deem what you're doing in your home, literally watching you, beam be informed, number one, they're there. they would have an option to get out of that and if anything were being record would scroll the records, we are watching you. it's a device that has -- i actually thought was science
fiction. i thought, what's the punchline? until i pulled the patent applications, and in the patent applications they are shrined in a matter, my opinion, very scary and should be scary to anybody who cares about privacy. >> ver the patent for this, right? >> they made an application but not the only ones. it's to my tension now -- i'm not mr. technology but i understand the xbox that is come ought has these devices. just reading something about one of the sony tvs has them built into the tv. the intent is to be able to microtarget. right in the application on verizon, they're not the only ones -- it says is this device sees you're drinking a beer they well target you for budweiser ads. if they see you cuddling on your couch they may send you an ad for marriage counseling or contraception. those are not words i made up. those are not experienced i made up. those are directly out of the
patent applications, and i would argue that the average person should know that is happening and have a choice to get out of this. >> does this technology exist today? >> i don't know exactly but i think one of the reasons the patent was denied is because the technology is simple. doesn't take much to put a video camera into any device, and so if they could do it, it's already cable-ready, already on cable so i don't see these are technologically science fiction anymore. it's a matter of if they do it, make sure the consumer is informed about and it have the option to turn it off. >> congressman capuano, what's -- is there a good side to this technology if we have this in our homes? >> i don't have to worry about that. if that's what you want in your home -- i wouldn't understand it but that's your prerogative. want to have microtargetted ads and have your cable company and
everybody else to know what you're doing every minute of the day -- i can't understand that type of lifestyle but if that's your choice, that's fine by me weapon didn't drive to prevent the technology. we want people to know what is happening to them. >> specific live what does the "we are watching you "app do. >> specifically requires the consumer be clearly notified, have an option to get out of it, and if they choose to get out of the system, they have the same options. for instance, the cable company says you can get out but then you can only have channels one through ten. that's not acceptable. have to have the same access to cable. and when they're recording you, again, these devices would probably be on 24 hours a day, even when your tv wasn't on. we don't unplug our tvs. they stay plugged in all the time even when you think they're off. it's whenever epa it's on, you have a control across the bottom of the screen, "we are watching you." that's a catchy phrase but also
true. it's happening. i certainly would want to know about it. >> before we ask you about your other piece of legislation, do you have a certain philosophy's all this watching and privacy issues? >> i'm a very private guy. my telephones, i turn the gps off. i'm not doing anything wrong. it's a matter of privacy. that's all. yet, for instance, had one of those transponders that allows me to travel down the massachusetts turnpike through toll booths. that's my choice. i can choose to take it off. it's my choice, and it's on my windshield and i know what's going on. for me, privacy is' the person being able to control your own life within as much reasonable expectation. we all understand there are cameras on the public street. but when it comes to time have to cam ares in your bedroom or living room, that should be your choice. >> the black box privacy protection act. what is that, congressman? >> almost every town in america --er in in the world is
soon to be every -- is required to have a black box device in cars. the current use of the black box device, it actually tryingers your -- the air bag system. so it's the thing that senses when you have a crash. the problem is that under current rules there's no limitation on the use of the information that goes into this device this is the device, if you have an accident, the police, your insurance company, court, anyone, anyone can pull this device out who knows what they're doing -- >> obviously not me but a 15 early child could do it -- pull this device out and know exactly how fast you were going, whether your seatbelt was on, whether you applied the brakes and if so, what pressure. which in and of itself doesn't bother me because it's a safety feature but number one, most people developments know the deviceses are in their cars, and you don't have the choice of turning them off and there's no limitation on who owns the information and there's nothing in the law that limits the amount ovation that could -- the
amount of information that could be developed. right trough it's only a few seconds but there's nothing that says they couldn't just decide to maintain every inch of -- every ounce of information every minute you're driving. again, all this doeses notifies consumers, allow an option out and clearly identifies who owns the information. in this case the car. when you've buy a car, it's your car. anything in that car is yours, depending on what radio station you turn to, and any information on that automobile should be yours. any information possible, you should know about. second of all, could and should be subject to warrant if that becomes necessary but that's what this is about. more consumer information and the ability to control your own information and your own vehicle. >> both pieces of legislation we have been discussing with you, did you consider trying to outlaw the technology or outlaw
the use of the black box information? >> i did not. i didn't because i'm not against technology. technology is a great thing. for me, i'm not trying to tell you or anyone else how to live. that's your choice. go right ahead. i simply want the option. i think everyone should have the option to make their own decision. it shouldn't be government. shouldn't be a private company no matter how big, and no one else should know what's good for you other than you. and so that's really been my focus. not trying to prohibit technology. that's impossible to do and probably not smart in the long run because a lot of technologies have other applications. some people that don't mind this technology in their lives and that's fine by me. >> now, with regard to cars, insurance companies are getting in on this act of monitoring. >> yes, they are. on in levels they would have in sort of obligation to determine who is a good driver, bad driver, safe driver. they have to set rates and i understand their business needs
for wanting the information. and if the information is available, i really couldn't even blame enemy for doing it. so, therefore, for merck it should be any my control as to what information they can get from me. >> representative capuano, what kind of response have you gotten from your colleagues? >> the "we are watching you" has garnered some support. most people look at it the exact became i did. the first thing you read, you have to think it's a joke and then you think it's science fiction and a million years ago, and that's why the release i put out to my colleagues near the congress, actually attached copies of the patent itself. not for any reason other than to show them this is real. didn't make this up. this is directly out of an official patent filed bay major international corporation. the problem is a'll of this information, even to members of congress, they just don't know