Has America's definition of privacy changed? There's been concern over recent reports of the government collecting massive amounts of internet and phone data. But in the age of Facebook and smartphones, people often offer up private information — disclosing their whereabouts on apps like Foursquare. Host Michel Martin examines the future of digital privacy.
Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the public has had several glimpses of the government's growing surveillance powers. The Bush administration had a program so secret, it dispensed with judicial warrants altogether. The resulting scandals and lawsuits appear to have done little to roll back the spying.
The administration had been trying to appeal a judge's ruling to make the morning-after birth control pill available over the counter with no age restrictions. The Justice Department said it would obey the order — sort of. The FDA may soon approve the over-the-counter sale of Plan B One Step without a prescription.
When surveillance laws were revised in 2012, Congress expressed great concerns that without proper oversight intelligence agencies would engage in the sort of monitoring that has been uncovered in recent days. Congress put a number of safeguards in place, but rejected others that would have guarantee more public discussion about what the NSA does.
In recent decades, a quiet revolution has been transforming the way Washington works.
Because the U.S. government does not have the workforce to complete all of its tasks, it employs private companies like Booz Allen Hamilton to do the work for it. Booz Allen is the company where Edward Snowden, who said he leaked secrets about the National Security Agency, most recently worked.
Over the past 25 years, this contract workforce has grown and plays a major role in the U.S. government, says Paul Light, a professor of public service at New York University.
The Senate voted Monday to approve its version of the farm bill, a massive spending measure that covers everything from food stamps to crop insurance and sets the nation's farm policy for the next five years.
The centerpiece of that policy is an expanded crop insurance program, designed to protect farmers from losses, that some say amounts to a highly subsidized gift to agribusiness. That debate is set to continue as the House plans to take up its version of the bill this month.
When it comes to secrets leaker Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency's phone records and Internet snooping, some in Congress face a dilemma.
Namely, how to read public opinion.
Speaking off the record, aides for Republican and Democratic House lawmakers told me they are getting constituent calls on both sides: from those urging that Snowden not be prosecuted and those insisting he should be.
An aide for one congressman told me her boss's staff was holding off on issuing a statement until it had the chance to further gauge the voters' mood.