PBS "Frontline" May 15, 2007
Runtime: 55 min
Filesize: 600 MB
Quality: Very good
FRONTLINE addresses an issue of major consequence for all Americans: Is the Bush administration's domestic war on terrorism jeopardizing our civil liberties? Reporter Hedrick Smith presents new material on how the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program works and examines clashing viewpoints on whether the president has violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and infringed on constitutional protections.
For more info see http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/homefront/
From the "New York Times" review (May 15, 2007):
... in “Spying on the Home Front,” tonight on PBS’s “Frontline,” Hedrick Smith doesn’t merely re-sound the familiar alarm that public officials are rooting through our mail and phone records. He suggests that the domestic surveillance begun by the Bush administration after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, redefines the legal standards on which the United States was founded. Old standard: Law enforcement’s job is to seek out a specific suspect and/or investigate a specific crime. New standard: Everyone is a suspect, and the crimes will be specified when those in charge are good and ready.
Mr. Smith’s look at the activities of an alphabet soup of government agencies involved in the anti-terrorism campaign is a bit jumbled, in part because way too much has been happening on this front to cover in an hour. But he imposes some order by focusing in particular on Las Vegas, late 2003. Anyone who took a mistress on a quick getaway to that city around then or was rolling dice when the boss thought he was at a business conference should not watch this program. The government had information indicating a possible terrorist attack, and it swept up casino and hotel records in a big, all-inclusive batch.
Mr. Smith uses this as a springboard to talk to current and former officials and assorted experts about the increasing use of data mining — collecting an undifferentiated mass of information, then combing it for deviance and clues — and its implications for personal liberty. And eventually he gets to the most intriguing question this all raises, one that transcends the Bush administration and even the war on terror: Are we willing to accept this world without privacy as the new order? The government, as the program notes, is only one factor; marketers and other private information gatherers have already turned all of us into files that would have set Hoover to salivating.
“Is it inevitable that we’re moving towards a world in which this kind of mass data mining and analysis is just going to happen?” Mr. Smith asks late in the program. But the question is a beat behind the reality he has already laid out. It’s more than inevitable; we already did let it happen. And no one who speaks in the program offers much hope of getting this nosy genie back in the bottle.
Date: May 15, 2007
News & Current Affairs
May 26, 2007, 07:08:24
Number of files
989d , 11h 22m 46s ago