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Tech Companies And American Privacy

Beyond the N.S.A. Legal scholar Jeffrey Rosen says we need a constitutional amendment to protect our online privacy from Internet companies. He’s with us.

This undated file photo made available by Google shows the campus-network room at a data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. (AP)

This undated file photo made available by Google shows the campus-network room at a data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. (AP)

The country’s in an unresolved uproar over the NSA and super-charged government surveillance.  Constitutional law scholar Jeffrey Rosen says look around.  Our concern, he says, should not just be with the government.  Private companies, from Silicon Valley right across the country, are collecting data on us on a scale that would bewilder the founders.  The Fourth Amendment bars unreasonable search and seizure by the government.  Rosen says that should be extended to cover private industry.  Watch out Google.  This hour On Point:  beyond the NSA.  American privacy, the constitution, and private companies.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Jeffrey Rosen, professor of law at George Washington Law School. Legal affairs editor of The New Republic. President and Chief Executive of the National Constitution Center. (@RosenJeffrey)

Adam Thierer, senior research fellow, Technology Policy Program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. (@AdamThierer)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: Madison’s Privacy Blind Spot — “The debate between Judge Leon and Judge Pauley echoes the one between Federalists and Anti-Federalists about the proper scope of government, one Madison, a moderate for his time, so effectively straddled.”

U.S. News & World Report: Relax and Learn to Love Big Data — “In recent years, concerns about our digital privacy have been exacerbated by the growth of ‘big data,’ or massive data sets that are used by companies and other organizations to catalog information about us. These data sets are used to tailor new and better digital services to us and also to target ads to our interests, which helps keep online content and service cheap or free. But some critics still fear the ramifications for our privacy of all this data being collected.”

Bloomberg Businessweek: Security Expert Bruce Schneier Says to Foil NSA Spies, Encrypt Everything — “There is some good news in the Snowden documents, Schneier said, and that’s that encryption still works. The NSA has often been able to get around it because other parts of the equation, like software or hardware, are insecure. Still, most current cryptography gives the NSA some trouble, and a lot of the data that the NSA snags isn’t encrypted. That means we’re making it too easy for the NSA to pursue its ‘collect everything’ mania. Schneier’s solution: encrypt everything we can, from the cloud to cell phones.”

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