Skip to main content

tv   Book TV  CSPAN  November 10, 2013 8:15am-8:46am EST

8:15 am
>> [inaudible] >> does anybody have any questions? don't wave those fingers at me. [laughter] no questions. harvey has one. >> i think you did an excellent job of. [inaudible] [laughter] >> thank you. thank you, everyone. >> there's a question here, maura. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> well, my question was what's the best story you didn't print? >> [inaudible] the best story i didn't print. i don't know, i think i got the good ones in there, i gotta tell you. sorry.
8:16 am
good question though. anyone else? yes. >> is there a follow-up? [laughter] >> no. i lost enough of my life and had to start dyeing my hair after this book was over. [laughter] no. but it was really fun to be a part of kansas and get to know it. and, you know, i heard earlier today we talked about preserving the voices of elders, you know, and that is really, really important, and i was so happy that i got to do that, you know? it's your history. it's a part of what you grew up with and, you know? i was, it was really an honor to do. [applause] thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> you're watching booktv on c-span2, 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books every weekend.
8:17 am
>> next on booktv, heidi boghosian talks about the increasing surveillance of american citizens by the government and the dangers posed by this development. this is about an hour and 30 minutes. >> let me begin by reading the fourth amendment. it may not be as familiar as it should be to people, because it's really at the heart of the whole discussion. the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, ask no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. it's very specific. it's very basic. it's rooted in english common law.
8:18 am
and it had to do with unreasonable searches of the king, so it was even a limitation on the monarchy's power. it was very precious to the colonists. and one should remember when we talk about the founders, everybody always thinks, you know, particularly after 9/11 freedom is an indulgence, you know? if you're never attacked, of course, then you can have freedom, but once you're attacked, you can't have freedom. and yet we've preached to people throughout the year the virtue of individual rights, and they've certainly been more threatened by sieve war, religious -- civil war, religious fanaticism than we have. and the founders, i'm always struck by the fact that people thought the founders put these protections in, and they knew more about danger than we'll ever know. if this thing had gone wrong, after all, they were going to be hung from the nearest tree, their family killed. so when they enshrined these freedoms, they were doing it in a society that was still quite
8:19 am
sketchy and quite open to foreign attacks and so forth. and yet they enshrined this. and when people look for the protection of privacy, they always stumble on the fact that the word itself is not used in the constitution. so as a constitutional law person, it seems to me something much more basic than the word "privacy," the sanctity of individual space. and when you read the writings of the founders, the idea was there had to be a lace where you could collect -- a place where you could collect your thoughts, where you could experiment with ideas, where you could discuss with your friends, where you could exchange letters which the founders did free from intrusion by others. particularly by the state. and i think it's the most vivid manifestation of a privacy right that we have in any document. what is your view? >> over the years, the development of the doctrine of privacy with note by legal
8:20 am
scholars louis brandeis and warren enshrined exactly what you're saying. the right to personal autonomy, the right to have one's thoughts private, to reveal what we want to reveal and to make a decision when to do so and what kind of information we want to share with others. most troubling these days, i think, is the question many say, well, if i don't -- not doing anything wrong, i don't have anything to hide. and i think that what our founders and others realized and had the foresight to realize is that when the thing or the president or those in power have the capacity to collect information on us or to peep into our private lives, inevitably that information -- be it technology which has many wonderful uses -- has proven through history to be abused. and i think that many wise
8:21 am
people and the people who wrote the fourth amendment at the time it was to prevent against what were called general writs where colonists didn't want to have the british come into their houses at night to search for anything without probable cause, the standard that has evolved over time legally or reasonable suspicion that some criminal activity was a afoot. and i think it's worth reminding people that there is no national security exception to the fourth amendment and that time and time again we hear the argument that if you want to be safe, you have to guf up some civil -- give up some civil liberties. and that's not only not true, but i think in cases actually makes our nation more vulnerable both in terms of privacy and national security. >> yeah. let me just push it. one reason we're having this discussion tonight, and i must say i got involved with this because i was over at city
8:22 am
lights books, and i'm supposed to be -- i am writing a book for the nation and basic books on the surveillance state. my man knew script is due in february -- manuscript is due in pen, and i saw this book on the self-. i sat down, which is the nice thing, i was able to start reading it. i thought i wouldn't bay it, i would -- buy it and i would just read it, get it electronically, and then rawrns walked in -- lawrence walked in, so i thought i better buy the book. and it's really quite a terrific book because what it centers on is really the attack on individual freedom, the right to organize, the right to seek redress of grievances, the right to be up popular, the right to challenge government. the assumption that government will be in the wrong which was an assumption of the founders. and it goeses through a lot of examples of where government power has been used to destroy
8:23 am
people's freedom. and i thought about that, first of all, recently the last several days we have further evidence of spying on people like martin luther king on the civil rights movement and the peace movement and so forth, on occupy and what have you, and the labor movement. there's been a lot of examples. but one factor that's sort of left out is the connection between technology and privacy and what is happening. and i have not only been the object of surveillance at points in my career, but i also have been in totalitarian countries. and i've been watched by secret police. i've even been arrested in a few places. and what hit me then was that the surveillance was really by today's standards extremely primitive. what you're really talking about is maybe someone being able to tap your phones, some visible person outside the apartment, someone following you.
8:24 am
all of that is antiquated now. and what you have is -- i remember i started a privacy project at usc where i am a professor in the school of communications and journalism, and this was before 9/11. and i wrote an article for yahoo! internet life, i've always been involved with computers and the internet and so forth, and it struck me that because of this technology, things were changing very rapidly. and i didn't know the half of it. but the key things to understand is, first of all, the use of supercomputers which become more super every hour. and the ability to sift through enormous amounts of complex data, for instance, facial recognition, checking a picture of your iris of your eye or your fingerprint now with apple's new computer and being able to compare, say, 20 million facial portraits in 15, 20 minutes and to identify people. and so it's not just a question
8:25 am
of gathering information. in the old days, i know i'm going on a long, but i'll just give you my own prejudice on it. in the old days, you know, you could actually assume the secret police would have a degree of incompetence and that even though they collected information in files, did anyone ever read the files in and i though when i got my own files here, because cecil poole, a great federal judge in san francisco, released a good part of my own feels, a lot -- files, a lot of it was erroneous, stupid, false information. and it was also clear to me, i'll just give one example, that people really weren't reading it. i remember one file in which i was accused of being behind a student movement in japan. and i couldn't figure out for the life of me how i could have been behind me. i mean, i'd been to japan and so fort and, evidently, there was a manifesto that i'd written that
8:26 am
they were studying. so it was translated from the english to the japanese and back to the english. and what it was was a book that i had written, you know, in 1961 on u.s.-cuban relations with marie -- [inaudible] who was getting his doctrine here. and it was quite, you know, it was interesting, but it had nothing to do with japanese radicalism, and what it was was somebody was hustling somebody in the cia or something, and they translated this thing, and someone translated it back, and it was gibberish by the time i read it. so people have gotten their files, we'll say they're often disappointed, it's kind of boring and everything. well, that's no longer the case. now you have this massive amount of information, and it can be gone through in minutes. certainly realtime. and you can track everything. and so that's one big factor, the fact that we have these supercomputers and the fact that people voluntarily give up a
8:27 am
tremendous amount of information. with the new apple, you'll give up a fingerprint. it would have been a wet dream for a hitler or a stalin, get the fingerprint be of every single person in the country and connect that with every book they buy and every movie they see and the connection with all of their friends and every phone call and e-mail. so you have this incredible ability to identify the individual, their tastes, their habits, their religion, their optics, their friendship and so forth and to sift through it and make correlations and so forth. so you have a totally observed society. the question i would put to you, is this fundamentally at odds with what we mean by the free society? is this in itself so inherently threatening that one wonders whether you could have anything other than a notion of freedom as consumer freedom? that we want to buy, shop, shop, shop, have all these ads next to us and so forth, and we're
8:28 am
willing really to sacrifice the basic ingredient of a free society which is individualism. >> with the rise of what was called years ago the computer state in the '60s when we had some of our more primitive beginnings of computers, i read a wonderful book by a reporter, and it's called "the rise of the computer state." i recommend it. and just going back, he foresaw everything that's happened right now. and i think it bears stating that the role of corporations have been an enormous part of how this has come about, that through developing brand loyalty with multi-national corporations we very easily hand over personal information whether it be when you charge something and
8:29 am
there might be an rfid chip implanted in the article of clothing you buy to things as simple as filling out product registration forms that ask how many members of your family or what your habits are that we don't can give a second thought to. but we have now giant data aggregators such as axiom which you may have read about have very cleverly, knowing that they're going to be summited to more government -- subjected to more government regulation, put up a web site where you can check to see what information they have on you or what information they choose to say they have on you. and be it gives you an option to correct that information and give them even more targeted data about your habits or how much money you make a year. they've done that, and it's a clever gimmick, i -- but so are all the loyalty programs maybe
8:30 am
even at your coffee shop or the mobile apps that your children use that collect their data. and i think that we see a confluence of factors, one being the agencies that are charged with protecting our children and others, the fcc, the ftc, regulatory agencies that are not doing their jobs, laws that have not kept the pace with the technology that changes every day. technology that is intentionally made very affordable so that everyone can have it who can afford it and really rely on that to conduct their daily business. and then we have a revolving door between private industry that after the cold war really saw a decrease in military spending and had to repurpose military equipment for civilian use. i think that impacts a lot of
8:31 am
surveillance technology including drones, rf be id technology -- rfid technology, biometrics. so we're seeing things that used to be used for the military because of the corporate lobbyists and businesses that see this being a lucrative way to develop surveillance technology and to make the pentagon, nsa and all of our government agencies reliant on them to conduct this business, without this cozy partnership, i don't think we'd be quite at the point that you describe. >> yeah. let me explore that partnership, because the excuse that google or apple or yahoo! will give is we don't voluntarily turn over information, and now with the fingerprint we're going to encrypt it, you're not going to be able to use it, it'll disappear and so forth. but i think the reality is, and correct me if i'm wrong, that the private sector hasn't put up much reus dance and that -- resistance and that we can
8:32 am
assume that every fingerprint will end up with the nsa or some comparable agency. and there was actually an article in the new in "the new " i guess it was on the 28th. i'm not going to quote from it, but -- well, i will quote from it. or do you want to quote? it's just this paragraph. you can read -- >> this is an article by james risen and laura -- [inaudible] september 28th. the agency can augment the communications -- >> that's the nsa -- >> -- data including bank codes, insurance information, facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and gps location information as well as property records and unspecified tax data, according to the documents. they do not indicate any restrictions on the use of such, quote, enrichment data.
8:33 am
and several former senior obama administration officials said the agency drew on it for both americans and foreigners. >> right. so with that description we can assume that every bit of data out there, right, every mortgage, every purchase, every meal, every phone call, every e-mail -- and, again, because of the ability of supercomputers to digest this material -- is available. so one would have to be extremely naive to think this is a power that will not be abused. and the question really is what can you do about it? and i will, i'm going to offer a solution, because everybody gets bummed out if we come here and it's all depressing, and what can we do. and i think a solution existed, not a perfect one, and it came up during the negotiations over the reversal of glass-steagall in the '90s. i happened to cover it for the
8:34 am
l.a. times. and the financial services modernization act which was the basic piece of legislation. and an odd coalition form that said if you're going to marriage insurance companies and commercial banks and investment houses, you are emerging an enormous amount of information. health insurance, banking records and so forth. and you should have a privacy protection. and this coalition, oddly enough, involved william sapphire who had been nixon's speech writer who was then a columnist at "the new york times" but cared a great deal -- as do many libertarians. i wouldn't say he was one, but about privacy. ed markey who, fortunately, is now a senator from massachusetts, member of the house was very concerned about it. shelby, a conservative senator, was for it. so they said let's have opt-in instead of opt-out. these are the keywords.
8:35 am
and, basically, opt out is pretty much what they give you now. if you're upset about something and you want to go through a rigamarole, you can say i want my data not used in this way. opt in you would have been required to give explicit permission for your information to be merged with other streams of information, then turned over to brokers of information, people who sell it, and you would have control over how this information was used. it's all the difference in the world. be opt in, opt out. and markey, as i say, and others went to clinton and said, look, whatever we think of this bill -- which is a horrible bill bill -- be you're going to sign it -- if you're going to sign it which you seem determined to do, why don't you at least have this opt-in protection over the records that are being merged. and clinton refused to do that. he promised at fist, and then he -- at first, and then he
8:36 am
betrayed that. now, that remains a very -- again, you're the person that i want to address this to -- what do you think about that? is it too late for an opt-in requirement? is this the battle we should be having? >> i think we need to be having several battles on a number of different fronts. i love the idea of opting in. i also -- >> does everybody understand what we mean? okay. >> with i also don't think that it's ever too late. i have a favorite passage i want to read briefly, a quotation from committee chair frank church of the church committee that was formed after revelations of cointel pro were brought forward by citizens in pennsylvania. and at that time outrage publicly was so enormous that the programs were quickly stopped.
8:37 am
although j. edgar hoover did say that he considered them a success, and there was great possibility they could be reopened in the future. but church, who was a democrat from idaho, said that every presidential administration in the past be it republican or democrat had abused their power, and he said, quote, the nsa's capability at any time could be turned around on the american people, and no american would have any privacy left. if any dictator ever took over, the nsa woulden able it to impose -- would enable it to impose totally tyranny. and i don't think it's true, there's no way to fight back. we have choices we can make as consumers and, quite honestly, consumerism has brought us to a large degree to where we are right now. but i think that we've seen such failures of government officials who have taken an oath to uphold the constitution to really do
8:38 am
their job that it, it's worth reminding us that as we the people, we are an important part of holding the government in check and making them do their job. so i think opt out is one possibility -- >> opt in. >> opt in. and what you said about the businesses who say they have no choice, well, they do have a choice, and i know they are pressured so much by government to have what they call a back door where law enforcement can gain access to our information each more easily than they -- even more ease hi than they do now. but i think if we go back to days of the church committee, what they did was put in protections -- the attorney general guidelines as they're called, and attorney general levi said that the fbi can't spy on political dissidents and, you know, politically active individuals based on their religious or ore ideologies --
8:39 am
or other ideologies. they have to have probable cause that some criminal activity is underway. and over decades that have passed sense then, those protections have been eroded both federal protections and the ones that state, local knew in mispalties have this place. now after the u.s. patriot act we've seen concept decrees that have been put in place in police departments across the country fizzle away, and now an agent only really has to say that they in good faith believe that an investigation should be opened. an example that we just found out a couple of weeks ago purely by accident by activists in washington state where there's an important lawsuit going on involving the army spying on peace groups, but actually destroying the peace groups. local police worked with a fusion center, followed these
8:40 am
activists, gave them, you know, really multiple arrests for nonexistence charges -- nonexistent charges. one person was kicked out of his apartment, others suffered emotional damage. and the peace groups were destroyed. but one of the activists filed freedom of information act requests and found out about project hemisphere which was "the new york times" reported on three or four weeks ago where this government is actually paying at&t's staff to sit side by side with drug enforcement agencies and to have is access to at&t phone records going back 26 years. and i'm saying this because i think that when we have data that is stored, as you said, and building a new data center in utah which can house more computers so that they can process more data, we're really
8:41 am
seeing a race, an international race for which government can accumulate the most data. and clearly, the u.s. wants to be at that tom of the -- at that top of the list. hand in hand with that goes an enormous amount of secrecy about these programs so that it's often just by accident that we learn really the extent to which our personal records are being gathered, stored and then with storage really at risk of not only inaccurate data, but getting in the hands of people who may want to alter your medical or financial or other records. so there's a lot of possibility for manipulation. i've sort of lost track of the beginning of the question. >> >> well, the beginning of the question was the division between the private and government, and one could argue that the private sector has a stake in protecting privacy, or you'll switch to another carrier or so forth. it seems to me the government, particularly after 9/11, comes
8:42 am
this and says, bullshit, you know? i'm sorry, i forgot c-span -- bull. [laughter] you know? but that you, no, you're going to turn it over to us. and there have been some noises of resistance, but in the main they have turned it over. >> right. >> i think there were few examples of people resisting or companies resisting, but i think the general feeling is they turn over everything. >> i think they're afraid if they don't turn it over. >> well, and i think, you know, with the apple 5s, you know, i have the 5, i thought today maybe i'll go get the 5s, but this is an incredible thing. the american people might, you know -- if you had asked people, hey, you've got to turn over your fingerprint or, you know, we may have a situation where most americans voluntarily not only turn over their fingerprint, but connect that fingerprint, as i said before, with every book, every record, every dinner they have. i moon, it's incredible -- i mean, it's incredible, you know?
8:43 am
if stalin's rush that had been able to do that, you know, that would have been the mark of totalitarianism, right? everyone in the soviet union had to have this fingerprint connected with every purchase they made, every meal. well, that would be the ultimate totalitarian fantasy. and yet we are on the cusp now of doing it voluntarily. and i suspect people in this room are routinely, can we use your location? well, hell, you want to yelp to see if that restaurant is around the corner, you give it. most people do. okay, use my location. i'm trying to find a movie in my area, and you're turning other the most private thing, you know? and then as far as the, you know, i think you make a very good point, this question of whether it's misused. well, it can be altered. it can be distorted, and it can be with selectively -- i was thinking just the other day i wanted to give a lecture on censorship. i am giving a lecture, so i'm downloading books that were
8:44 am
formerly censored, you know? i'm sorry, i was using amazon. i didn't have an independent bookstore near me, and i was downloading d. h. lawrence and henry miller and somehow realize i'm now presenting a portrait in the eyes of some people of a pervert, you know? i think that is fine literature, by the way, i don't have that view, but, you know, you have to think twice. even knows what books you're downloading. so we have a very good essay today by chris hedges on the roots of radical dissent, so he's quoting rosa luxembourg, so i'm checking out, you know, doing my fact checking, and now i'm an anarchist, you know? [laughter] revolutionary. and so you are creating profiles of yourself that can easily with be used by others. >> and the data aggregators as marketers have similar profiles.
8:45 am
and one of the problems with selecting tidbits of data and not really looking at it as an integrated whole is that just if you say your choice of what movies you see, what products you buy may label you as an anarchist, and the danger is with the anarchist right now it again goes back to the issue of funding for private corporations. there's competition among, you know, department of homeland security and other local agencies that receive dhs funding, say, of municipal police department to identify so-called terrorist threats. now we see the catch-all an around chris being used a lot -- anarchist being used a lot years after the animal rights activists this 2005 were deemed top domestic terrorism threats. now it's anarchist. i was at the republican national convention in florida the year before


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on