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Moyers & Company

No Escaping Dragnet Nation (#310)

This week on Moyers & Company (check local listings), 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. [24 minutes] Closed Captioning

This episode has not aired in the past few months on Iowa Public Television.

PBS Video

Series Description: Bill Moyers returns on-air and online in January 2012 with MOYERS & COMPANY, a weekly hour of compelling and vital conversation about life and the state of American democracy, featuring some of the best thinkers of our time. A range of scholars, artists, activists, scientists, philosophers and newsmakers bring context, insight and meaning to important topics. The series occasionally includes Moyers' own timely and penetrating essays on society and government. In a multimedia marketplace saturated with shallow sound bites and partisan name-calling, MOYERS & COMPANY digs deeper. As the Los Angeles Times put it in 2010, "No one on television has centralized the discussion of ideas as much as Moyers... He not only gives a forum to unusual thinkers, he is truly interested in what they have to say and who they are because he believes their ideas really matter. "

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