Online Privacy, Bullying In Schools, & War With Iran (The Point)

Uploaded by townsquare on 15.03.2012

Welcome to The Point. I’m Ana Kasparian and we have an excellent show ahead for you
guys today including excellent panelists. So let’s go ahead and meet our panelists.
First we have Ramon Galindo. He’s a LA reporter for RT. Hi nice to meet you. Great to have
you here. We also have Sharon Kyle who is the publisher of Nice to
meet you Ana. Congratulations for being the first woman. Thank you so much. And we also
have Brian Unger, frequent guest on The Young Turks and also the host of How the States
Got their Shapes on History Channel and H2. That’s correct and why has it taken so long
for the glass ceiling to be broken here in the fill in capacity? You know I don’t really
understand that. What’s going on here? But I’m glad that I was the first to break that
glass ceiling. Do we need to start protesting outside this building? Look if it means I
get to host more shows, sure let’s go ahead and do it. Alright. Let’s hit the streets.
Definitely. Well you’re doing a great job so far. Thank you. Now we have some great
fascinating points to cover on today’s program including why the media is so focused on going
to war with Iran, what we should do about bullying in our schools, and also why are
several websites spying on us collecting our information and giving it away to third parties.
So those are some pretty heavy duty topics but I thought we would start off today’s
program with a fun story. So earlier this week I read a story about a 17 year old by
the name of Cody Conner. And he decided it would be an excellent idea to rob his local
sex shop, Cupid’s Corner. And in the process of doing so the female who was working at
the cash register convinced him to put down the gun, have a nice long conversation about
his life with her, and then fill out a job application and earn a decent living. Well
Cody Conner was stupid enough to do so. But I’m glad he was. In the process of doing
so they made a good friendship. He walked out of the store and of course the female
cahier went ahead and gave that job application to the police officers. And he got arrested
shortly after. Because of course he included all of his personal information. So as with
everything on this show, this story has a point. And the point to this story is, for
the first time in a long time, I thought about someone who was more clownish than Newt Gingrich,
Rick Rantorum, or Mitt Romney. I thought that the point was gonna be that only good things
can happen in sex shops. Well that’s true too. Did you say he was trying to rob the
sex shop? He was trying to rob the sex shop. What was he trying to get? What was the merchandise?
What was he trying to get his hands on? Well I originally thought he wanted some sex toys
but that was not the case. He was actually looking to make some money. Oh ok. Alright.
Now with that said, let’s get straight to our first point. This was submitted to us
by Alyona Minkovski of RT’s the Alyona show. Let watch. Hi I’m Alyona Minkovski, host
of the Alyona show here on RT. Now my point today is our media acts like war is normal.
Not only that but they help beat the war drums. We’ve really seen this over the last ten
years as they repeated verbatim what our lawmakers and military officials have to say to justify
war on a global scale that knows no borders and sees no end in sight. Now one of the biggest
issues is a lack of coverage. In 2010, the cable networks only devoted four percent of
their coverage to the war in Afghanistan which is now America’s longest war. When you do
see that coverage, it’s tinged with fear. It comes from pundits that often only benefit
from the military industrial complex. Whether it’s generals that cash checks from defense
contractors that are presented as unbiased military analysts, or lawmakers that pass
every defense authorization bill without question because there are factories and jobs are in
their district. Now what we don’t hear are real questions about whether our foreign policy
hurts more than it helps. Why men and women are actually losing their lives. And why we’re
still giving up our civil liberties all in the name of security ten years in. War is
hell. War should be a last resort. Yet the media has allowed it to be normalized by not
questioning the voices that profit from it. So for more you can watch the Alyona Show
at You can check out our YouTube page at and
you can follow me on twitter at @TheAlyonaShow. Now Alyona brings up fascinating points there
and I think a lot of people who work in the media can definitely notice that whenever
there is question of a sketchy actor in this international spectrum, usually it’s fear
mongering. The media tries to make them out to be the bad guys. Maybe we should think
about preemptive war. Now Ramon, you work for the media. You are a reporter. So tell
me. Do you ever feel pressure to cover these stories with that type on angle? Well at this
point I work for RT so Alyona and I, we work on the same staff. So we are luckily challenged
to look beyond that. Look beyond what the main stream media is telling us and to question
more. I mean what we’re seeing today I believe is a mainstreaming of this war where the only
question that’s being asked is should we go to war right now or should we go to war
in six months. And the question is well why do we have to go to war in the first place
and why are we not questioning these statements that are being made by these government officials
or by these supposed experts on the Middle East. When we saw that a decade ago we just
repeated their line verbatim and obviously we got into a war that was unjustified. Now
we’re seeing a repeat of that today. Now it seems like a few journalists have learned
from those mistakes. But unfortunately when we turn on CNN and the other mainstream networks,
we’re seeing this same narrative where the State Department or the Defense Department
says oh. This guy is guilty of this without taking them to trail. Without showing any
real evidence. And these journalists who saw these same mistakes happen a decade ago are
still not questioning the government line. Now what’s incredible Brian is the fact
that you know Iraq turned out to be such a hideous war. And we invaded that country.
There were no weapons of mass destruction. Do you see similarities with Iraq and Iran
and have we learned anything at all from the situations back in 2003 when we invaded the
country? Well it’s a really good question. I think sadly we’ve undercut the main rational
for going to war by sort of blowing the Iraq war and the issue of weapons of mass destruction
which we all know were never found. And in fact there’s reason and good reason and
even evidence to believe that a lot of it was exaggerated if there was any evidence.
But there seems to be a prevailing post-war attitude that we go to war to prevent nuclear
proliferation. That was been part of our doctrain. Since we dropped the bomb we don’t want
anyone else to do it. And we’re sort of using that same wisdom in this idea that Iran
cannot have a nuclear bomb. But how do we know now? We’ve almost kind of ruined this
credibility. Do we believe they have one? How do we know? Do we believe the commissions
that go in and investigate? And so the rationale for going, where it might just be moral or
it might be right, has been kind of spoiled by the Iraq war. Secondly I just wanna say
on the issue of media. There’s not enough coverage of the war on media. We’re in a
24 hour news cycle. We have three 24 hour news networks. Current is fourth as a commentary
news network. And yet we’re always exposed to this idea that there’s not enough time
on these channels to talk about things. There’s a clock running on the bottom left hand corner
saying here’s news in three minutes and then boom, we’re into commercial. We have
so much time to actually talk about issues, and about war, and about the direction of
our policy when it comes to war. But yet there’s this hurried news cycle where we’re just
skipping over things to get to more and more entertaining news. And lastly and I’ll let
someone else talk, we put the most important shows that talk about our issues on Sunday
morning. We just bury Sunday morning with the best guests, the most relevant talk, the
smartest people for the most part, when most people are sleeping. They sleep through those
shows and then we’re off on Monday morning with a parrot who called 911, times 24, every
hour. You know what I’m saying. So I just kind of feel like the media has abdicated
this entire incentive to be journalistic and forsaken it to be entertaining. So how can
you have good coverage? Well I think you make a very valid criticism there. And I think
that a lot of these executives and producers that most of the mainstream media outlets
make the assumption that Americans are not interested in what’s happening internationally.
They don’t care about what’s going on with the war. Or they’re not smart enough
to understand what’s going on with the war. But it doesn’t rate either Ana. No. That’s
the thing. We’re talking about war. It’s just not sexy. And for producers at CNN and
Fox News and MSNBC. I have to say, MSNBC, they do devote a lot of their coverage to
being curious and skeptical toward the approach and march to war. But still. These stories,
they only last three or four minutes and then they’re on to the next story. I think we
have to wonder how much of the media’s effort is put into entertaining the public because
this is what the public is asking for. And how much of the focus is on shaping the public’s
perception. Now we have, thank goodness, the internet. Because we have an infinite amount
of information that’s now just available right at the tips of our fingers. If this
was twenty thirty forty years ago, we’d be in a much worse position. Speaking of inspections,
Scott Ritter, I’m sure most of you remember his name as we were on our way marching up
to the Iraq War. He had inspected. We have these people in place. The media didn’t
really cover him that much. And then, when he was really vocal about Iraq not having
weapons of mass destruction, what happened? His character was tarnished. He was demonized.
That’s right. He was demonized. So I think what we have to wonder is, there appears to
be serious conflict of interest. We have a military industrial complex where we have
a major concentration of ownership of media in the hands of the likes of GE that has some
of the largest DOD contracts. So are we trying to entertain the public because they wish
to be entertained, or is the media simply shaping public perception? Well I wanna weigh
in on that because I think Brain also raised the point that we’re focused so much more
on entertainment than any sort of war coverage. And I experience both in public and in corporate
media and when I worked in corporate media, I mean yes. The Iraq War was just not to be
mentioned because the poll or the researched showed, the corporate research showed that
that’s not what the viewers wanted to see. And not only that but corporate, media owned
by corporate, large corporations, they’re in it to make money. And if they cannot sell
commercials, they are not going to run that story. I mean if you just run stories that
have blood and gore, have war, have the ugly side of things, it’s gonna be very difficult
to sell Huggies commercials. So they are just not gonna show that. They’re gonna show
the entertainment side, the softer side of the news. You’re definitely right about
that. Look. Advertisers control a lot of the decisions that main stream media makes, that
corporate media makes. That’s why they’re referred to as the corporate media. But also
going back to your point Sharon. I think you make an excellent point about how the main
stream media really shapes public perception. And also you gotta really look behind the
scenes to see how these shows get produced, and who’s briefing these producers and these
executives at the main stream news networks. So to give you a perfect example, General
Barry McCaffrey during the Iraq War played a huge role in how CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, how
they shaped their programming. So there was a lot of fear mongering. Keep in mind, this
is a retired general who is looking to sign contracts with major private contractors.
So of course his idea is to push this perception that you know, these Middle Eastern countries
are gonna come after us. They’re terrorists. We gotta do what we can to make sure we invade
them and we make sure they don’t have weapons of mass destruction. I mean just to give you
an example of some of the things he has said about Iran because he’s now briefing NBC
about how Iran is a threat. He gave them a PowerPoint presentation. He said the following.
We should not view the Iranian rhetoric as empty threats. They are likely to further
escalate. There is great opportunity for miscalculation on their part. They will not under any circumstances
actually be deterred from going nuclear. They will achieve initial nuclear capability within
36 months. Ok so he goes on and on and on. Liz Cheney is doing the same thing appearing
on different networks saying that Iran is a huge threat. Iran is not a huge threat.
Right now they are developing nuclear energy. There’s absolutely no proof whatsoever that
they’re working on missile technology or actual nuclear weapons. You said this and
I have to agree with you Ana that the run up to this war, have we learned anything.
You asked that question early on. And remember, Vietnam was based, a whole war campaign based
on fear. Fear that the entire Southeast Asia would go turn communist and that didn’t
happen. This domino theory and all of this stuff that a bunch of think tanks in the Pentagon
thought up and spend their days doing. This march to war or the rhetoric or the cavalier
attitude about war in Iran is really based on this idea of fear. This idea of someone
developing a nuclear weapon where there is no evidence of that. So have we learned anything?
Sadly, it doesn’t feel like we have learned anything. I think we have. I think what we
have learned, especially when you bring up Vietnam. What was learned is, Vietnam was
brought into the homes of America. And I think that the powers that be learned that it’s
best to not show the devastation that war wrecks on an entire population, on women,
on children. So it’s much easier for this general, for the punditry, for the politicians,
those who are buffered from the consequences of their decisions, it’s much easier for
them to make the claim that we must move ahead because the American public is sort of kept
in the dark. But you know when fear is incentivizing as the driver toward war, that was the driver
during Vietnam. I mean have we learned the lesson of that where we go to war based on
evidence. I even wish we would stop using the phrase weapons of mass destruction. That
phrase was invented. We used to say, we used to measure threats by the use of a weapon
like a nuclear bomb. Everyone, every country has weapons of mass destruction. Every country
has poison gas, or missiles, or bombs. I mean we really should just stop using that because
that means that everyone’s a target. You know what I mean. I wanna ask one more question
to you guys. And Ramon, I’m gonna direct it to you. So now that we know that there’s
this military industrial complex, now that we know that there’s this whole system working
against us and working against the truth to Iran. What can we do as independent media
outlets to really get the truth out? And I know you publish How can
we really get the word out there? Ramon let’s start with you. That is one thing that is
inspiring. There are lot more outlets now. A lot of people like RT and other outlets
like progressive alternative media, they saw that in 2003 there was no challenge to the
status quo. Now we’re seeing a lot more of those. They’re definitely not as influential
as a CNN or a Fox or an ABC, but they are out there. And I think that people are waking
up to that. So we definitely have to become more savvy as far as the web. I mean we saw
the KONY video, how it just blew up. We need to be more savvy that way and give people
not just part of the information. I mean we have to give people and we have to be aggressive
in criticizing that main stream media when they do commit these grave errors that unfortunately
may allow us to go into another war again. That’s right. I agree. I think as I stated
earlier, the internet is such a gift to us. It is the way that progressives, the way that
the well-heeled, can have a stake hold in this. Just like Ramon said, we’ve gotta
be more savvy about getting the word out and we have the tools. We can do it. So I really
have a lot of hope. Brian, what about the Occupy Movement? Do you think the Occupy Movement
will play a pivotal role in preventing us from another preemptive war? I doubt it that
the Occupy Movement will. I feel like 24 hour cable news has spun them as lunatics and people
not to be trusted or they’ve ruined their credibility. I think the only solution is
to turn 24 hour cable news off. Stop watching CNN. Stop watching Fox News. Turn them all
off and make them basically fulfill their obligation to be reporters. To people who
dig for the truth. Who are skeptics. Who are curious. Whose job it is to monitor government
and keep them in check. Not to entertain us. Alright. We gotta take a quick break. Let’s
do so and when we come back anti-bullying legislation. Does that makes sense?
Welcome back to The Point. And our next discussion has to do with anti-bullying legislation.
Does it make sense? And this is actually a question that was posed by Rosalind Wiseman
who is the author of Queen Bees and Wannabes. Let’s watch. Hi. I’m Rosalind Wiseman
and I work with parents and kids and educators around the country to prevent bullying. Now
there’s been a lot of attention placed on bullying which is great. Forty eight states
have passed laws against bullying. The problem is, is that none of those laws have included
appropriations, the funding to provide the teachers and administrators for resources
to stop the problem. So I’m asking all of us. We all know that the American educational
system is in trouble. We know that kids are struggling. And it’s really only common
sense that you can’t function in school if you do not feel safe. Now I wanna just
take a moment to talk about what bullying looks like in today’s schools. It looks
like kids who are Latino being teased for being deported. It look like if you’re Arabic
or you’re Muslim, that kids are teasing you about being Osama Bin Laden’s cousin.
It looks like if you bend over in the hallway ‘cause your books have scattered, that somebody
takes a picture of you and forwards it to everybody with the express purpose of embarrassing
you. So if we’ve got these issues that are important, and we want our kids to be able
to function in school, we actually have to go beyond the lip service and give the teachers
and the administrators the tools that they actually need. If we do that, we really can
address the educational system and bullying for the better. So Brian, let me ask you.
As she mentioned in the video, forty eight states have proposed some sort of anti-bullying
legislation. Do you think that they’re actually genuine in their attempts to fix this problem
or do you think it’s just a front? I don’t know. I don’t really understand the application
of funding resources. You’re gonna jump all over me. I can tell already. I don’t
really understand the application of funding, tools, resources, against something which
kids do to each other, have done to each other, will continue to do to one another. How do
you prevent it? How do you stop it? How big is the quote unquote the problem? I don’t
think state legislatures really have a role in that. I just don’t see how they are going
to legislate how kids are gonna tease or not tease one another. Maybe someone can explain
it to me. Yea. Let me explain really quickly. I guess a good example would be New Jersey.
So Chris Christie passed anti-bullying legislation recently. And he got a lot of flak because
he did not set aside the appropriate appropriations for it. For what though? What would the money
be used for? Well this is what he planned on doing. He wanted each school district to
have like a committee that handles bullying situations immediately. Because often times
what happens is. Like a bullying politburo? Almost. You have to go to counsel and you’re
judged? Well and here’s another thing. A lot of teachers don’t know how to deal with
bullying. So if a student comes to them and says look. I’ve been bullied. This person
is constantly harassing me in class. Do something about it. A lot of administrators and a lot
of teachers just brush it under the rug because they don’t wanna get fired by doing the
wrong things. So you know when they introduce a new hamburger at Wendy’s and then they
make all the employees stick around after their shift to learn how to cook that new
hamburger? Why can’t we teach teachers and train teachers and principals to recognize
these new symptoms of bullying or these new signs? Let’s make them enforce, let’s
make them be like police officers in the classroom when there is bullying. Now that’s exactly
what New Jersey’s attempting to do. And you need people to train the teachers and
you have to pay for that. So that’s part of the reason why you need money to fund it.
But Sharon, what do you think? Do you think that the government should play a role in
bullying situations within our school districts? You know I have to admit. When I found out
that this was going to be one of the topics, I thought this is not really a big deal. But
then it occurred to me that I had actually written an article about this about a year
ago. And it turns out, according to several researches, bullying is actually increasing
in the schools. And young people, particularly young people that are members of the LGBT
community, many have committed suicide. And I thought about this and I thought in what
other area, what other profession have we crafted legislation that has in fact helped
to protect these young people? And one area is in the medical profession. So in the medical
profession, if someone brings in a child to the emergency room because let’s say they’ve
broken their arm, and they’re x-rayed and it turns out that it’s obvious that that
child has actually looks like they’ve been abused, the medical professional has to report
that immediately. And I think it might not be such a bad idea to impose some types of
rules. As Rosalind Wiseman has indicated, forty eight states have endorsed legislation
that does just that. School districts have to take more of a proactive stand in protecting
these children. So perhaps it’s a good idea. Yea, I’m a little but conflicted on this
topic because yes, all these states have this legislation. Even Chris Christie has jumped
onboard with it. But to me it seems like an issue that is so easy to win politically.
I mean who is gonna oppose legislation against bullies? So it’s a very easy thing for a
governor who, and I think it’s really ironic because he bashes teachers so much, I mean
by having to go through all these anti-bullying courses. I mean you’re putting much more
burden on these teachers than they already have. I mean it’s a very easy thing to jump
on. But I come from an old school place where I was picked on. And my dad said fight back
and that’s what we did. But at the same time I come from a family of educators. My
brother’s a teacher. My mother’s a teacher. And they tell me yes. Bullying is a big problem.
In fact there are several school districts around the country that already have programs
in which they address the issue. So in my opinion I think it is an issue that does need
to be addressed but I think it would be better addressed by the individual school districts
themselves that have very much knowledge of what their students are like, what type of
demographics are in that school. Well you know what I find fascinating is how if you
look at studies, you’ll see that gay teen suicides are more likely to happen in conservative
areas, in red states right. So I think it’s very disingenuous of politicians to get on
their soap box and talk about how bullying is a huge issue in our school districts. We
need to address it. Well why don’t we address the fact that you are proposing legislation
that promotes bullying on a much larger scale. Bullying the gay community. Bullying women.
I mean how many stories have we done about the war on women in recent months? Speaking
of red states, this whole legislation, this move to enact legislation to prevent bullying,
it started as a result of the Columbine shootings. And one thing that I thought was kind of interesting
is well, why didn’t they enact legislation that was with more stricter gun control? Well
that’s because the NRA takes complete control over gun issues. Exactly. They took the path
of least resistance and also the path that would give them the greatest added voice.
Now there are definitely down sides to the government getting involved with bullying.
And one thing that immediately comes to mind is zero tolerance policies. So right now in
country you’re seeing all of these kids getting locked away in juvenile detention
centers due to zero tolerance policies. They’ll bring scissors to school to work on an art
project. And administrator will see it and go oh my god. That’s a weapon. We gotta
put you away in jail. And if you look at the demographic of students who actually get put
away, of course they’re disproportionately minorities. So do you Ramon see this as an
issue in terms of students getting criminalized for bullying? Maybe administrators are gonna
jump too quickly onto this anti-bullying bandwagon, punish kids too harshly. No absolutely I think
that’s a great point. Now some of this legislation I’ve been going over, it’s not as severe
as to put them in juvies or criminalization or criminalizing them, but we definitely run
that danger once we keep making these laws. And the last thing we wanna do is start criminalizing
our youth, especially minorities. And that’s the other point that I would like to make
here because many of these times these school shootings have been in upper class areas,
in white areas. And I was just in South Central the other day, talking to a teacher there
who said that there’s a young boy who brought a rainbow knife like this long because I mean
he’s scared that he’s gonna get beat up by the gangsters going to school. These are
dangers that are not brought up by law makers when they happen in the poor Black neighborhoods,
in the poor Mexican neighborhoods that are very much gang infested and where just getting
to school is a daily battle. So we have to start looking at it in those ways. And that’s
why I think the local communities are better equipped to address those issues. You don’t
wanna lump in like school violence with bullying. Guns is not bullying. It’s different. I
think the idea that every kid is now like a self publisher. Every kid in school can
put up a picture now online of someone in a compromised position and humiliate someone.
And humiliation really is what’s driving a lot of people to take, we hear about the
suicides constantly, and people being humiliated to the point where they don’t think they
could show their face again and they consider death to be a good way out. And somehow we
gotta short circuit that idea, that when you start humiliating a kid, and I’m not talking
about a fist fight on the playground ‘cause we’ve all been in those. Every day when
I was in school. But I’m talking about this system of humiliation of a kid. And it’s
repeated and it goes on. And people are aware of it. And then somehow it turns out bad.
And then we all reflect back on it and go yea. He was teased a lot he was teased and
they put this picture of him up. And everybody’s got this like encyclopedic knowledge of the
chronology of the bullying. Somehow, someone’s not short circuiting that. That process. And
I don’t know, I’m not an educator. My parents were both teachers. My dad was a principal.
My mom was my guidance counselor. That was humiliating, let me tell ya. But I just think
that my parents were always there to intervene when I got into trouble. I feel like there
are a lot of kids who don’t have advocates in school. There’s no teacher going hey,
enough. You do that one more time and you’re out. And that’s how, or they got paddled
in the hallway. I got spanked. Did you get paddled? Oh my god. I did. In front of all
the other students? No, out in the hallway with another teacher as a witness. Can you
believe that? That is unbelievable. But it worked. Look at me. I turned out ok. Yea.
But that’s what the legislation and the line of these new rules, that’s what they’re
supposed to do. They are? Is prompt the teacher or mandate the teacher take action. Because
we do have laws on the book that protect people against what you described. This type of harassment
or this type of intentional infliction of emotional distress is a tort, is a civil wrong.
And we already have laws on the books. So anti-bullying is something that goes a step
beyond and requires that teachers and other people in the educational system take a step
to protect students. And what happens if they don’t do that? Do they get fired? In my
opinion, if there is absolute proof that there is bullying, harassment of a student and the
administrators or the teachers who were notified do nothing about it, yes I think they should
be fired. Look when I was a student I was bullied every single day by a group of girls.
And it got really really ugly to the point where it became physical. And I remember going
to the counselor, talking to the counselor about it and saying they are bullying me but
I do not want to retaliate because I wanna get into a good school. I don’t wanna get
a suspension for engaging in a physical altercation. And he told me yea. You don’t want that
on your record so just don’t engage and they’ll leave you alone. Well that passivity
is the problem right there. It is. That should raise all kinds of red flags and sound the
alarm. On a serious note. Let’s go kick those girls’ asses. Although some of this
legislation does have a noble intent, I think that many times we create laws without really
addressing the core issues of what causes bullying. Like many times we have all these
drug laws but we don’t really examine what is really causing drug abuse in our community.
So I think that we run that same risk here. Alright. Excellent point made by Ramon. We
gotta take one more break and when we come back I’m gonna tell you about the websites
that are spying on you. Is it scaring you. We have a point on that and we’ll have a
little discussion. We’ll be right back.
Welcome back to The Point. And our last point is sent to us by Lori Andrews who wrote the
book I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did. Sounds a little scary. But she wants
to talk to us about internet privacy which has become a very huge topic recently. So
let’s watch what she has to say. I’m Lori Andrews and I teach a course on the laws of
social networks at IIT Chicago College of Law. I’ve also written a book. I Know Who
You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy. My point today is
that the right to privacy should cover what we post on Facebook. I think about people
like twenty four year old Ashley Payne, a high school teacher. She went to Ireland on
her summer vacation and posted hundreds of pictures of her vacation. In a few of them
she was touring the Guinness factory with a beer in her hand. And because of that photo,
she was forced out of her job as a high school teacher. So much information is being posted
on our Facebook pages. We post the most intimate information about our sexual preferences,
about our political beliefs, about whether or not we hate your family or hate our boss.
And if you try to take down your Facebook page when you’re 18 or 21 before you go
looking for a job, that still doesn’t help because companies like Social Intelligence
keep the last seven years worth of public Facebook pages and make them available to
employers. Now if someone were to break into my house to get that sort of information,
he’d be guilty of trespassing and invasion of privacy. If the cops tried to tap my phone,
they require a warrant. I think our online rights should be as protective as our offline
rights. So you can find out about it and vote on my social network constitution at,
or read my book, I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the
Death of Privacy. Sharon, let me play devil’s advocate here and ask you do you think that
it’s the internet’s fault, or do you think that it’s a person’s fault for putting
up these pictures on their Facebook pages and not making it private and sharing all
of this personal information about themselves online. Well I think that once place information
in the public sphere, you really don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy. So in
one respect, the issues that were addressed by Lori Andrews, I’m not quite getting why
she believes that this woman who posted a picture in a very public sphere, and she pointed
out that Facebook, if you counted the number of people that participated in Facebook as
population, it would be the third largest country. So this woman obviously did not have
an expectation that her photo would not be shared. Now I agree with you on that. You
know if you don’t want picture like that of yourself shared online, then you probably
shouldn’t upload them. But the thing that really annoys me about that story Brain is
the fact that she got fired because she had some pictures of her partying and having a
drink and of course the school freaks out and decides to fire her. And then there’s
this situation with sites like Facebook and Google that collect all of this private information.
You think it’s private, right? They collect it, they accumulate it, and later on they
sell it to a third party. Now they do this because you use their service for free and
they need a way of making money. So do you think that’s an understandable thing for
them to do or do you see problems there? Look. I think that these are businesses and their
incentive is for profit and the profit is what drives the collection and culling of
data about our privacy. And no one wants to jeopardize that structure of making money
off this thing. So you never hear a whistle blower by the way coming out of Google or
Facebook or anywhere else who does the 60 minutes interview and says we’re collecting
information on every single person who uses this. We know what porn sites they’re going
to. We know what they’re buying. We know how long their e-mails are. We know all that’s
going on. And it is. They are collecting all that information. What they do with it, right
now is the question. But I think it’s creepy just getting a targeted add the moment I click
on a doghouse to see if I wanna buy it, thirty seconds later it’s on my Facebook page.
Hey you wanna buy a doghouse? They know where you’re going. It’s like you’re leaving
this giant vapor trail and they can just follow you. So I don’t know. It’s the wild wild
west and will remain that way for a long time because those people and Congress whose job
it is to monitor this stuff are like dinosaurs and prehistoric and they don’t even know
what the web is. I love that you mention Congress. Ramon, do you see this as a partisan issue?
Is this something you see both Democrats and Republicans kind of getting behind and maybe
tackling so our private information isn’t sold without our knowledge? Well right now
I see it mostly as a left issue and mostly just kind of an underground issue because
it’s not talked about in the mainstream media very much. It’s very popular online
but it’s not something that I would go to a bar and talk to the person next to me about.
I mean it’s not in the public discourse because like Brain said, we don’t know where
that information is going yet and we don’t have any evidence yet that it has been used
in nefarious ways. However, that is the risky point because we’ve heard politicians say
that they wanna have the ability to shut down the internet. They wanna have the ability
to track certain groups because an environmental group might be a threat to national security.
So in those instances we have to be very careful. And people have to kind of go out there and
do their own research because there are ways to protect your identity. There are ways to
protect your browser searchers, things like that. So I mean people do need to be aware
of this problem because right now although it may not be abused, there’s always that
chance that later on, that it can be taken out of context or all your private information
is going to be taken for the sake of national security. Facebook is right now in the middle
of a suit where they have actually admitted that they changed their privacy policy. So
initially when you sign up with Facebook, when any of us launches a new software, there’s
a bunch of text that goes. And you click and you say I agree. What are you agreeing to?
I know. Who reads it? I’ll start reading that some time. Who reads that? Nobody does.
Right. But apparently, they had made some promises and they changed some of the terms
of the agreement after people had already clicked that they agreed. And so Facebook
has admitted that they have done this, and they are in the process of coming to some
kind of negotiated agreement where they are going to handle private information in a way
that better serves the public. I think that clear disclosure here is the real issue and
a lot of ways, you know the terms of service, it’s too dense. Most Americans are not gonna
read it. You have to be clear about what information you’re collecting, who you’re going to
share it with. And you know the White House was actually working on legislation that would
force web browsers, Google, Facebook, to basically list all the third party advertisers that
they sell your private information to. And another thing that they wanted to do was prevent
sites like Google and Facebook from selling this information off to health insurance companies,
employers who wanna do a little investigation into your personal life to figure out whether
or not you’re the right person to hire. So given all this information Brain, are you
concerned at all? We’re being tracked. This is not tin hat stuff even though you wouldn’t
talk to a guy in a bar about it because you would sound like a conspiratorial weirdo.
But we’re being tracked, we’re being surveilled by corporations and by our governments with
just willful, just eavesdropping, tracking, culling of data, all of that. I’ve changed
my Direct TV. I told them that I was moving this week. And I went to my mailbox the next
day and there were like four or five letters like moving? Where are you going? We can help.
It’s like they’re trying to reach us with their tentacles in any way possible. And how
do you beat back a system that is basically caved to government intrusion? Banks do it.
Insurance companies do it. Everyone is tracking us, our preferences. And every time we hit
I agree, we give away everything ‘cause we don’t read that stuff and all those disclaimers
and stuff. So I actually feel like you cannot hold back this wave. I think it’s too late.
It’s very difficult to do it and you know, recently New York Times Magazine did this
really incredible piece on how it’s not just Google and Facebook. It’s retailers
that are tracking your information. There’s this incredible story about this teenager
who became pregnant and her father didn’t know about it but she was going to Target
and they were tracking her behavior, the types of things that she’s purchasing with her
credit card or her debit card. And what ended up happening was Target started sending her
coupons for things that she could use for the baby. And the father went to Target, to
the corporate offices and was like why are you guys sending my 16 year old daughter these
coupons for diapers? It doesn’t make any sense. Later on he found out that oh. It turns
out my teenager’s pregnant. So Target knew before he did because Target is tracking her
behavior. So this is really a widespread issue but let me ask you the last question Sharon.
If you have nothing to hide, should you even be concerned? Well yea. That’s one of the
issues that’s posed before they track your whereabouts and arrest you. So I think that
it’s really important that we cannot just sit idly by and think that ok. We have legislation
and we have protections in place that can protect us. We have to stay vigilant and even
before the virtual world, this public information. When you go to buy a house and you get your
house the first thing you get is a ton of stuff in the mail. New furniture. New paint.
So your privacy, it’s invaded all of the time. And I think that we as a people just
have to stay on top of these things. And media organizations too, and I know you wanted this
to be the last question, but media organizations do have to be watchdogs, not on government
alone but also corporations. And it’s their jobs to alert the citizenry. It’s a war
on personal liberty. That’s a real war on liberty, not this sort of made up mumbo jumbo
you hear in this sort of Republican GOP primary. That’s a real war on individual liberty
where it’s protected by the Constitution. And the media has to be vigilant and the watchdogs
on corporations who are taking our personal information and selling it. Well the only
problem is there really is no expressed right to privacy in the Constitution. And that’s
what many of us think but in fact it’s not there. The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments
to the Constitution, there are some issues of privacy addressed there but the Constitution
itself has no expressed right to privacy. And privacy issues weren’t truly addressed
to the courts until the late 1890s. So it’s a relatively new phenomenon, this issue of
us having the right to privacy because it really is not Constitutionally protected.
And ask Justice Galea. It is a new avenue and it does seem like they’re trying to
address it but yea. It’s still very very new and we just don’t know what to do with
it. And I definitely don’t expect the corporate media to hold corporations accountable for
spying on us. But we’ll see. You don’t? So alright. Unfortunately that does it for
today’s show. I wanna thank our panelists Ramon, Sharon, Brian. You guys did an excellent
job. I really enjoyed the discussion. And also let’s thank our video submitters. Alyona
Minkovski, Rosalind Wiseman with Queen Bees and Wannabes, an excellent book that she wrote,
and finally Lori Andrews, the author of I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did. Thank
you so much for joining us on The Point today. I’m Ana Kasparian and we’ll see you next
week with another great episode.