Everything's Under Control
Surveillance, Privacy and Security in a Digital World

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Internet Surveillance
Episode 15 of The Surveillance State
Shift your attention to electronic surveillance, and see how the monitoring of web searches and emails allows the government to gain insights into potential security risks from abroad. But even though the surveillance program has oversight, some people fear the potential for abuse is high. Look at both sides of…
Surveillance in America
Episode 4 of The Surveillance State
See what measures the American government took during the Cold War to prevent our devolution into a Stasi-like state. While the CIA and the FBI had several unauthorized surveillance programs in the 1950s and 1960s, Congress and the Supreme Court stepped in to oversee the intelligence world with several powerful…
Hacking, Espionage, and Surveillance
Episode 12 of The Surveillance State
Spycraft used to be limited to physical surveillance and electronic communications, but now, thanks to the Internet, hacking and digital espionage are the wave of the future. Investigate the techniques by which governments infiltrate each other, ponder the ethics of these actions, and think through the appropriate responses.
Biometrics - Eyes, Fingers, Everything
Episode 11 of The Surveillance State
Eye scans and facial recognition software were once the purview of science fiction, but now biometric identification is becoming commonplace. Here, examine the different forms of biometric screening, from fingerprinting to DNA analysis. While there are many benefits to this technology, you'll also see the darker side of this data…
Security, Liberty, or Neither?
Episode 1 of The Surveillance State
Start by considering the tension between surveillance and the rule of law. While the pace of technological change is extremely rapid, laws are slow to keep up. Worse, the institutions responsible for creating laws often have internal conflicts about the role of privacy and security--as illustrated by a dramatic face-off…
Under Observation - The Panopticon Effect
Episode 9 of The Surveillance State
What happens when we know we are under observation? Or when we know we are anonymous? The "observer effect" has a significant psychological impact on someone being watched, whether it is a corporation under public scrutiny or someone chastised on social media. Consider the psychological implications of observation--on both the…
The Internet of Things
Episode 19 of The Surveillance State
Technology is quickly transforming our lives with marvelous tools: smart thermostats that automatically adjust the temperature of our homes, self-regulating insulin dispensers, medication management systems, and more. But these technologies come with a cost in terms of the data they aggregate. Who owns the data? How can it be used?…
Technology Outruns the Law
Episode 17 of The Surveillance State
Continue your study of surveillance and the law with a look at constitutional law. After exploring cases from the 1960s and 1970s about privacy and police informants, you'll turn to the computer era. Find out what expectations of privacy we have regarding email and phone metadata, airport travel, and our…
East Germany’s Stasi State
Episode 3 of The Surveillance State
Go inside what is likely the most extreme surveillance state in the history of civilization. It is estimated that, when you count casual informants, as many as one in six East Germans was a spy--keeping tabs on neighbors, friends and family. Survey the history of this insidious surveillance state and…
Big Data’s Shadow
Episode 7 of The Surveillance State
The government and private industries are using a vast cache of information about each of us: our travel patterns, our web browsing habits, our purchasing preferences, and more. Efforts to decide upon and enact laws and policies trail behind new developments in technology, and this lecture examines the potential inherent…
Europe’s Right to Be Forgotten
Episode 22 of The Surveillance State
Google search results in Europe are different from those in the United States. In Europe, some results are omitted thanks to a "right to be forgotten" principle. Although Europe and America's approach toward privacy is generally similar, here you'll compare the legal state of data collection in both the public…
National Security and the First Amendment
Episode 23 of The Surveillance State
The democratization of newsgathering and the expansion of the surveillance state have amplified tensions over the transparency of government operations. Trace the recent history of the news media from the Pentagon Papers to Wikileaks, and draw your own conclusions about what information should be published and who should be allowed…