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This edition: No Escaping Dragnet Nation

Episode Details

First aired: March 24, 2014.

As Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower and Senator Dianne Feinstein, usually a staunch defender of the intelligence community, loudly and publicly speak out against the intrusion of internet spying, Bill talks with investigative reporter Julia Angwin, author of Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance. Her book chronicles a cyberworld of indiscriminate tracking, where government and business are stockpiling data about us at an unprecedented pace. Today’s headlines make Angwin’s findings even more relevant and powerful.

Julia Angwin set out to see if she could escape the dragnets that were secretly collecting even the most mundane details of her everyday life. She told Google good-bye, unfriended Facebook, unlinked from LinkedIn – and discovered just how difficult it is to untether the electronic umbilical cord and escape scrutiny. Reporters are a prime target for internet snooping, says Angwin, "Journalists are the canary in the coal mine. We're the first ones to seriously feel the impact of total surveillance, which means we can't protect our sources. But what happens next? What happens next is we're not good watch dogs for democracy. And that's a very worrisome situation.”

She wondered whether government snooping is the price of security: “I thought, ‘Okay, let's see, maybe this is really worth it. Maybe we're going to find out that we're really safe.’ So I looked at all the literature about government surveillance and crime and how much does it work. And what I found is, it's not particularly effective.”

Julia Angwin, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, covered the business and technology beat at The Wall Street Journal for thirteen years, and is now working for the independent news organization ProPublica.

Guest List

Julia Angwin Investigative Reporter, Author, “Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance”

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