Monday, December 30, 2013

  • Orwellian or a Blunt Tool?: Conflicting Rulings on NSA Spying Set Up Likely Supreme Court Showdown

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    A federal judge has upheld the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of U.S. telephone data just days after a separate court reached an opposite opinion. On Friday, District Judge William Pauley dismissed a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union challenging the NSA’s mass collection of U.S. phone records. Pauley said telephone metadata could have potentially prevented the 9/11 attacks by alerting the government to hijackers who made phone calls from the United States. The issue will likely head to the Supreme Court — Pauley’s ruling comes less than two weeks after another federal judge questioned the program’s constitutionality and described the bulk collection as "almost Orwellian." We’re joined by two guests: Jameel Jaffer, ACLU deputy legal director and director of its Center for Democracy; and Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who first broke the story about Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks.

  • Glenn Greenwald: The NSA Can "Literally Watch Every Keystroke You Make"

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    The German publication Der Spiegel has revealed new details about a secretive hacking unit inside the National Security Agency called the Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO. The unit was created in 1997 to hack into global communications traffic. Hackers inside the TAO have developed a way to break into computers running Microsoft Windows by gaining passive access to machines when users report program crashes to Microsoft. In addition, with help from the CIA and FBI, the NSA has the ability to intercept computers and other electronic accessories purchased online in order to secretly insert spyware and components that can provide backdoor access for the intelligence agencies. American Civil Liberties Union Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer and journalist Glenn Greenwald join us to discuss the latest revelations, along with the future of Edward Snowden.

  • Jobless Benefits Cut for 1.3 Million, Despite Highest Long-Term Unemployment Since World War II

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    On Saturday, 1.3 million Americans lost their last lifeline from the federal government: an emergency unemployment insurance program. Although long-term unemployment is still at its highest level since World War II, Congress failed to renew the program in the budget deal it passed just before adjourning for winter recess. The program provided up to 47 weeks of supplemental unemployment insurance payments to jobless people looking for work. Now, just a quarter of unemployed Americans will receive jobless benefits — the smallest proportion in half a century. Allowing the program to sunset is expected to have wide-scale ramifications for the economy at large, axing job growth by around 300,000 positions next year and pushing hundreds of thousands of households to the brink of poverty. We are joined by Imara Jones, economic justice contributor for Colorlines.com.

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