Privacy advocate Lauren Weinstein expressed concern about balancing the needs of law enforcement and government with the civil liberties of citizens. He noted that since 9-11 the heightened pace of security has shifted the balance against people's privacy and civil rights.
Weinstein was critical of new airline databases which use secretive methodologies for profiling passengers, because consumers can't judge the process. He also discussed how technological advancements have an "enabling function," where people become accustomed to the new convenience or speed and thus may be willing to overlook privacy concerns.
Future computers may actually become more restrictive, as manufacturers seek out more control, said Weinstein. Right now some people's computers are acting as "spam bots" sending out voluminous amounts of email without them even being aware of it. Such issues will be addressed in a conference titled Preventing the Internet Meltdown, that Weinstein's group, People for Internet Responsibility, is hosting this summer in Los Angeles.
Space Station Interview
Connecting 250 miles above our planet, George conducted an interview with International Space Station personnel, Mike Foale, the Expedition 8 Commander/NASA Science Officer and Alexander Kaleri, a Russian Cosmonaut and Flight Engineer, who spoke through a translator. Notable sites such as the Egyptian pyramids and China's Great Wall are visible with binoculars, though locations such as cities and dams are more readily seen with the naked eye, said Foale.
The Space Station continues to expand, and Foale said its lifespan may extend up to 30 years, with other countries partnering, if the United States' involvement wanes. While he's seen unusual objects in space that have caught his attention, they invariably turn out to have a logical explanation, Foale noted. He believes the work of the space station is extremely valuable. "Keep looking up to the stars...and dreaming and looking beyond," he added.