90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
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.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Nov 21, 2014
President Barack Obama walks in the Cross Hall of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, to award the National Medals of Science and National Medals of Technology and Innovation. (AP)

The president throws down the gauntlet on immigration. Bloodshed and new tensions in Israel. Keystone fails. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Nov 21, 2014
Laura Ingalls Wilder, an American  writer and novelist, at age 27. Her "Little House" series is a beloved semi-autobiographical take on her childhood in the Western American plains. (South Dakota State Historical Society )

A big new look at the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the woman behind the Little House.

RECENT
SHOWS
Nov 20, 2014
A shot from the AMC reality series, "Freakshow." (Jessica Brooks / AMC)

From TV to Broadway, circus sideshows — freak shows — are having a big cultural moment. What’s the history behind the comeback?

 
Nov 20, 2014
In this file photo, Hillsborough Sheriff deputy patrols outside the gate of JP Morgan Chase annual stockholders meeting held Tuesday, May 15, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. JP Morgan is one of several large financial institutions currently under investigation for alleged violation of Federal bankruptcy laws. (AP)

You’re supposed to have a clean slate after bankruptcy. But that’s not always true. We’ll ask what’s going on.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Five: What Is Net Neutrality?
Friday, Nov 14, 2014

The Explicast dives into tech policy territory with a quick look at the real meaning of a complicated bit of tech policy known as ‘Net Neutrality.’

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: November 14, 2014
Friday, Nov 14, 2014

On why we tweet, what we like and a Miley Cyrus and “Serial” theme song mashup you never knew you needed.

More »
Comment
 
Guest Post: U.S.-China Climate Deal is an Important Step In Long Road Ahead
Wednesday, Nov 12, 2014

After a landmark agreement between the US and China on climate change policy and clean energy development, a recent On Point guest reflects on what’s important in this new deal.

More »
Comment