The Web     
Powered by
powered by Yahoo!
Return to Transcripts main page


A Look At Corporate Employee Snooping Techniques; China To Possibly Launch First Manned Mission To Space; Hotels Have Shown To Have High Levels Of Bed Bugs

Aired September 28, 2003 - 17:00   ET


SOPHIA CHOI, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to NEXT@CNN for this Sunday, September 28th. I'm Sophia Choi. And coming up this hour: the United States and Russia may soon have company in the manned space business. We'll tell you which country is set to come in third in the space race.
A new report says the biggest threat to your privacy may be your boss. We'll hear the scoop on corporate snoops.

And you might want to look twice the next time you're in a hotel room. Seems there's a boom in bedbugs, and your own bed is not immune.

But first, the official Chinese Communist Party newspaper reported this week that China may launch its first manned mission into space as early as next month. And as of now, only the United States and Russia have sent humans into space.

Joining us now to explain the significance of this announcement is Craig Covault of "Aviation Week" magazine. Thanks so much for joining us.


CHOI: So why is this such a big deal that China is getting into the manned space program?

COVAULT: Well, it's important from both a political and technological standpoint. From a political standpoint, the Chinese Communist Part wants to use as way to kind of enthuse the masses that the Chinese Communist Party can do big, great things. On the world stage, it gives China, at least in China's eyes, some parity with the U.S. and the Soviet Union in space. And also, politically, inside of China, there's still competition between the military side and the civilian political side, so this is an all-military project that to some extent boosts the military side of the Chinese politics.

CHOI: I was going to say now the Chinese say they're going to be launching pretty soon, but they won't say exactly when. Why are they being so secretive?

COVAULT: Well, I think the Chinese want to preserve part of this program in secrecy in case they have a failure, although there's every indication they'll have a success. It also allows them to build enthusiasm at home for producing a new Chinese hero. Their (UNINTELLIGIBLE) or John Glenn or Alan Shepherd, if you will.

CHOI: Well, Craig, you've been there. And from the pictures, it really looks like they modeled their program after NASA right down to their buildings. What did you think of the program?

COVAULT: Well, I have been there several times and have been to a number of their facilities. I think there's a message there when they paint their big assembly building just exactly like the large assembly building at the Kennedy Space Center. Technologically, the Chinese want to do with their program much the U.S. did with Apollo. They want it to be a technological engine for the country that the country can be proud of, that also helps generate new developments and materials, electronics and so forth that will benefit their commercial developments as well as their military prowess.

CHOI: But they're also taking some cues from the Russians. I mean, like their shen xiu (ph) pod is very similar to the Russian Soyuz. What do you know about that?

COVAULT: Well, the shen xiu (ph) spacecraft could be called an improved Soyuz. It's a rudimentary spacecraft, but better I think than the Russian design. It's larger, it has more in-orbit capability. Certainly, the Russian rocket is not a total copy of the Soviet design.

So, if anything, the Chinese have not so much copied the design as taken a design and improved it, hopefully significantly, that they can learn from and perhaps advance to their own small space station and maybe eventual cooperation with the U.S. on the international space station.

CHOI: Well, the Chinese really have been meticulous. They have a long-range plan for their space program. How realistic is it?

COVAULT: Well, the Chinese in the last year have committed to more than doubling their civilian space budget and have also secretly increased their military space budget. On the civilian side, they do not have a manned lunar program, although that has kind of been discussed in philosophical ways.

They do have, however, a new unmanned lunar program where they will be sending lunar orbiters, lunar rovers, and maybe an unmanned sample return in the next 10 years or so. They're also developing a whole new range of remote sensing spacecraft to launch into Earth orbit. So they are on a very dynamic increase in space activity.

CHOI: Well, talking about space activity, we saw space activity coming out of Europe just yesterday. Their first mission to the moon. They launched the Ariane 5.

What do you know about this moon mission?

COVAULT: Well, the spacecraft that was launched on Ariane 5 yesterday by the European Space Agency is designed as much as anything to test new technologies, as opposed to really push lunar science. It will push lunar science once it gets there, but it is really designed to demonstrate electric propulsion, which doesn't require much propellant.

Propellant equals weight. And if you can cut down on the amount of weight you take with you, but yet increase your speed gradually, you can go a lot farther, a lot faster over time than you can with traditional rockets. So it's cutting-edge technology, as well as interesting science for the Europeans.

CHOI: And some nice pictures to boot. Craig Covault, it's always nice to hear what you have to say about what's going on in aviation. Craig Covault from "Aviation Week" magazine, thank you so much.

COVAULT: Thank you.

CHOI: Well, coming up on NEXT@CNN, with so many Americans out of work, does the United States really need foreign workers to fill high- tech jobs? We'll have a debate over the controversial H-1B visa program.

Also ahead: one of the biggest child porn networks is busted. That and more when NEXT @CNN returns.


CHOI: Taking a look now at some Next News headlines for this Sunday.

The federal "Don Not Call" registry is still in limbo after a federal judge in Colorado ruled on Thursday the list is a violation of constitutionally-protected free speech. The registry contains 50 million phone numbers that are to be off limits to telemarketers. The list was supposed to take effect this coming Wednesday. Ironically, one of the numbers on that list is the phone number of the judge who put the registry on hold.

This week, California Governor Gray Davis signed the nation's toughest anti-spam measure first. Marketers in the state could be fined up to $1 million for sending unsolicited commercial email. The law targets not only the firms that send the spam, but the companies whose products are being advertised.

Another new law in California this week cracks down on the recycling of computer and television monitors. Effective next July, the measure will impose a $6 to $10 fee on the sale of new monitors to pay for recycling. The law also bans the shipment of monitors to countries that don't follow U.S. environmental standards. TV and computer monitors contain hazardous chemicals, such as mercury and led, which can contaminate soil and ground water when dumped in landfills.

German authorities have broken up a huge child pornography network, seizing tens of thousands of CDs, diskettes, videos, and computers. It's being called the most significant action of its kind. The investigation involved more than 26,000 Internet users and 166 countries. Suspects are accused of swapping child porn. It's not clear whether they are involved producing it. The suspects include teachers, police officers, and even a Protestant minister.

Foreign workers hold a lot of high-tech jobs in the United States. Are they the only ones qualified, or are they taking jobs that should be filled by Americans? There's a lot of debate on the H- 1B visa that lets individuals with specialty occupations into the U.S. A number of those visas is set to decrease soon.

Joining us to talk about this issue, Thom Stohler, vice president of the American Electronics Association. He's in our Washington bureau. And in San Francisco, Norman Matloff, professor of computer science at the University of California at Davis. Thanks to both of you for joining us.

Tom, let me start with you. You represent high-tech companies with lobbying and government affairs. What are these companies telling you, and why are they still using these foreign workers?

THOM STOHLER, AMERICAN ELECTRONICS ASSOCIATION: Well, why they use the foreign workers is they use them to hire a small but significant part of their work force, primarily individuals that graduate from American colleges and universities with masters degrees and Ph.D. degrees in fields like computer science, electrical engineering, mathematics.

CHOI: Norman, this was supposed to be a temporary program. Are they really needed still, these foreign workers?

NORMAN MATLOFF, UNIV. OF CALIF. DAVIS: Well, they never were needed in the first place. And, by the way, the statement that most of the H-1Bs in the computer area are people with post-graduate degrees is absolutely false. If you look at the computer-related H- 1Bs -- this is the I.N.S. data -- only about one percent of them have a Ph.D. in the field and only about seven percent have a masters. So a total of eight percent. The graduate issue -- the post-graduate degree issue is a just a non-issue.

CHOI: But if Americans are qualified, Norm, then why wouldn't companies give them the job? Does this come down to dollars and cents?

MATLOFF: It's totally an issue of cheap labor. You know the H- 1B law supposedly requires that you have to pay prevailing wage. But the definition of prevailing wage is so loose that the whole thing is just a series of giant loopholes. And the companies, large or small, make use of these loopholes.

A number of studies have verified that, university studies. And, most interestingly, Congress's own commission study by the National Research Council. They all found that the H-1Bs tended to be paid less than comparable Americans.

CHOI: Thom, I know the argument from companies is that there just simply isn't enough U.S. grads to fill the positions. What's being done to lure more student then?

STOHLER: Well, I don't agree with the underpayment argument. If you look at the most recent data released by what is the Bureau of Immigration statistics, the average H-1B visa holder in the computer field is making $60,000 a year, and that's more than the average U.S. worker makes in computer programming or assistance management.

But the high-tech industry -- part of what happened with the H-1B bill in 2000 is that there was a $1,000 fee put on every H-1B visa application. And that money has gone in to train about 55,000 American workers through the Department of Labor grants. And it's through the year 2000 provided about 8,000 scholarships for students that are getting undergraduate degrees in engineering and computer science.

CHOI: All right. We know the numbers have changed over the past few years. In fact, the industry says it's self-correcting. And we have some numbers of how this actually plays out in the real world. Let's take a look at them.

Pre-1998, 65,000. And the numbers go up as the high-tech boom got started in 1998, as you see there, with a high of 195,000 in 2000. This week, that number is set to go down again with 65,000 remaining.

Norm, there's a lot of concern out there about outsourcing U.S. computer jobs to places like Southeast Asia and India once these numbers do go down. Wouldn't it be better just to keep those jobs and tax dollars in the U.S.?

MATLOFF: Well, first of all, very few of the jobs are being offshored. Only about one percent. It's very difficult do, and that's why it hasn't been more.

The issue really is that you to have the people here for face-to- face interaction. But, at the same time, the employers want cheap labor. The statistic that Thom cited from the I.N.S. talked about computer system analysts. That's a very old fashioned. The people that have that title generally paid less.

What he really should have cited was the Bureau of Labor statistics data on software engineers. The medium there is $74,000, compared to $60,000 for the H-1Bs in that area. There is absolutely no doubt that the H-1Bs are forming a source of cheap labor here; that's what is really going on. That is the core issue.

Everything else on training -- training, for example, is a non- issue. Let me tell you why. As the -- there are a number of big companies that are admitting that they are replacing Americans by foreign nationals and forcing the Americans to train their foreign replacement. So, clearly, it's the foreign nationals that need the training rather than the Americans. So the training issue is just a smoke screen, nothing more.

CHOI: Thom, what's your take on this outsourcing concern, that once the H-1Bs are booted out, and essentially the numbers are so low, and if these companies, indeed, can't find qualified workers, will they begin doing more outsourcing to countries like India and Southeast Asia?

STOHLER: No, I don't agree with that assertion. You have to go back to who the H-1B visa holders are in the United States. Forty- seven percent of these individuals have a masters degree or higher. They are very well educated, they're the type of employees that high- tech companies hire for very specific, very skilled, very highly educated positions.

And to say that these -- that if they're booted out that we're going to follow them is just not true. What would be better would be, since about half of the individuals receiving masters degrees and Ph.D. degrees from American colleges and universities in fields like engineering and computer science and mathematics, those individuals are foreign nationals. It would be much better if we had a program that allowed companies to hire these individuals without fear of a cap or fear of not being able to hire them and then bring them through the citizenship process quicker. That would be better for the high-tech industry.

CHOI: Well, this is a very sensitive topic and we thank both of you gentlemen for joining us and giving us your opinions on it. Thanks.

STOHLER: Thank you.

CHOI: Just ahead: we'll tell you what it takes to keep a big piece of American history from crumbling into dust.



ANN KELLAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We now have a rough draft of the dogs' genetic code. The DNA blueprint that determines everything from the wag of their tail to the size of their ears to their loving nature as man's bend friend.

The Institute for Genomic Research released a draft of the genetic code they say is about 80 percent complete and thorough enough for detailed analysis. Published in the journal "Science," that code may one day help us know more about the difference between guard dogs and guide dogs, between show dogs and mutts.

Already, researchers found canines have more sniffing genes than humans, accounting for their better sense of smell. The DNA used in this project belongs to a standard poodle named Shadow. His owner, Craig Ventor (ph), who heads up the institute that funded this dog genome project, also brought us one version of the human genome.

Genetically speaking, Ventor (ph) says, all mammals are a lot alike, with about 75 percent of human genes similar to a dog's. Should we be surprised? We've always joked owners look a lot like their pups

Why? It's still a mystery. But knowing the genetic code will help researchers better understand and treat diseases in both humans and dogs since we share more than 300 ailments, from narcolepsy to the blinding retina eye (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And while there's not much separating a code from an Irishman from an Irish Wolfhound, there's even less separating the Irish Wolfhound from a Chihuahua.

Finding their subtle yet obvious genetic differences could take years.

Ann Kellan, CNN, Atlanta.


CHOI: After more than two years of restoration, the Charters of Freedom are back on display at the National Archives in Washington. The Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights have been given a high-tech face lift of sorts, and new argon-infused display cases to ensure their longevity.

Joining us today to tell us a bit about the restoration is Catherine Nicholson, senior conservator for the National Archives. Catherine, welcome.


CHOI: So let me just get this straight. These documents needed to be restored. Why? Because they were already in like protective glassed-in cases, weren't they?

NICHOLSON: That's right. They had been encased in about 1951, and they were metal and glass enclosures. But they represented state- of-the-art in 1951. And, actually, they had features that we thought were going to detract from the long-term stability of the documents.

There was glass resting right on the parchment. And we were concerned. We could look through the glass, we could see what was going on, but we actually couldn't monitor them directly. We

decided we had an opportunity with the renovation of the rotunda to actually work on them for two years. We had them off display, and we were able to open each of the 1950s encasements, take the documents out, inspect them directly for the first time in 50 or actually probably 100 years for some of the items, determine if there were any needs for treatment, and actually get the go ahead to carry out those treatments before they were sealed in new encasements. The new encasements are much long larger and they're much more spacious; there's no glass directly on the parchment.

CHOI: Well, given that space of time, that span, 50 years, were you surprised at how well they held up, or were they in pretty desperate need?

NICHOLSON: Well, actually, I'm really happy to say that they are actually in very stable condition. The parchment is quite strong. The ink is, except on the Declaration, still quite legible.

Our concern was to make sure that the ink that is present on the parchment will last as long as possible. And so quite a bit of our treatment focused on feeding ink underneath any lifting flakes of ink. We did -- you can see there's little spots where flakes have come off in previous decades, probably previous centuries. So we re-adhered the ink with very, very small droplets of ink applied under a binocular microscope.

And there you can see we're looking through the microscope to examine the ink. And these are the words on the Declaration of Independence written on the back of the document. The other thing that we carried out on the Constitution, in particular, the parchment was not flat. And so we humidified and flattened the parchment.

CHOI: I also understand that you put like ink on tape and then transferred it on to the documents.

NICHOLSON: Actually, no.


NICHOLSON: We took a very, very conservative approach. We looked for any ink that might have come off and might have been inside those old encasements. When we opened each one, we looked very, very carefully.

We actually did not find any loose flakes of ink. The only ink we worked on was ink that was already -- it was lifting off the parchment but still attached. So we were reattaching ink in its original location, but we would -- you simply couldn't tell where any loose flake might have come from. And actually we didn't find any loose flakes.

CHOI: Understood. Now I know you just described the intricate processes that you encountered. We know it took two years for this restoration project. How much did it cost?

NICHOLSON: The cost -- there are many, many people who worked on this project. The cost of making the new encasements was probably more than $1 million. We had some foundation money for that. The actual conservation treatment was carried out as part of our normal duties, and so that was somewhat absorbed.

CHOI: All right. Catherine Nicholson, thank you so much for joining us. Catherine is the senior conservator for the National Archives. Thanks again.

NICHOLSON: Thank you.

CHOI: Well, lots more to come right here in the next half hour of NEXT@CNN, including the high price of gas and how the long awaited energy bill may or may not ease that cost.

And later: a tiny bug is making a big and unwelcome comeback in the United States. We'll tell you what could be living in your bed.


CHOI: Some train travel is still disrupted, but most of the power across Italy is back after the worst blackout in that country in nearly a decade. And like the recent blackout in the U.S., even before all the lights are back on, the finger pointing, yes, it's already beginning.

Rome bureau chief, Alessio Vinci, has details.


ALESSIO VINCI, CNN ROME BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): It took only four seconds to plunge most of the country into darkness. Four seconds during which trains, subways, traffic lights all stopped working at once. Italian officials believe the simultaneous failure of two power lines providing electricity from neighboring France appeared to be the cause, while power links with Austria and Switzerland are also being investigated.

A failure, they say, which caused a catastrophic domino effect throughout the Italian grid. The outage took place at 3:20 in the morning when most people were asleep, except in Rome, where an all- night festival that was supposed to last until daybreak came to an abrupt end. With subways not working, people waited hours for buses. And at the capital's rail station, many questions, few answers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no train at all. I don't know. Nobody knows anything. We just know there's no electricity all over Italy, and we don't know why and how long it's going to last.

VINCI: By early morning, power was restored in much of northern Italy. A few hours later, southern Italy and Rome followed. This American tourist missed his train to Pompeii.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just calm. There were a few people queued around information kiosks very worried. You know, "When can I make a train? When can I make a train?" But that was just maybe a dozen people compared to thousands who were just calmly waiting.

VINCI (on camera): The power failure hit the Vatican as well, leaving thousands of tourists stranded outside the museums and the Sistine Chapel.

(voice-over): French officials confirmed that two high power lines were briefly cut overnight to avoid overload during a storm. But they deny responsibility for the blackout, saying energy supply was restored immediately.

Alessio Vinci, CNN, Rome.


CHOI: After a two-year journey, Congress is getting around to finishing up an energy bill. Seth Borenstein has been keeping an eye on the negotiations for Knight Ridder newspapers, and he joins us now.

Thanks so much for taking time out on a Sunday.

SETH BORENSTEIN, KNIGHT-RIDDER NEWSPAPERS: My pleasure, Sophia. CHOI: So, Seth, what's the headline on this energy bill?

BORENSTEIN: Well, it's going to be a little while longer, about two weeks before anything passes both Houses of Congress. But it's not much of a change from the policy that's been around for the last two or three years. It's heavy on drill and supply and getting more energy, very light on conserving energy.

CHOI: Well, people really want to know will this energy bill have any affect on gas prices? We just reported in the last few minutes that gas prices dropped by 10 cents in last two weeks.

BORENSTEIN: It won't have any affect on gas prices for a while. First, gas prices are a heavily international market. The U.S. is still not the biggest player in the international market, especially in producers, and that's where it really counts.

There may be some change in prices, maybe some lowering prices in the long term. Not for a year or two. And for the present, probably not before the election.

CHOI: We were just talking about oil producers. How dependent so is the U.S. on foreign oil producers, and what can we do to become self-sufficient one day? Is conservation the key here?

BORENSTEIN: Well, it depends on who you talk to. According to the Bush administration and the Congress, the key is more supply, drill more. And we have been getting more and more dependent on foreign oil, not necessarily all Persian Gulf oil, all across the world, as every year goes on. It's more than 50 percent now.

And what can be done, according to the Bush administration, is we need to drill more and get oil in different ways, including out in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and in waterways that right now you can't get it from. According to the environmentalists, the idea is to conserve more, to use less. That actually works faster, but no one seems to have gotten to the idea of trying to do both at the same time.

CHOI: All right. Let's get back to this energy bill. As it's shaping up now, who are the winners?

BORENSTEIN: The winners on this is the energy industry. This is like a giant ice cream sundae, but it's vanilla, so it doesn't look too offensive to outsiders. But inside it's just coated with white chocolate chips and all sorts of sweet things.

About $18 billion worth of incentives for the energy industry, and that's in a bill that's probably $50 billion. This is all with a "B" in there. But $18 billion is the latest estimate for how much goes in terms of tax credits, incentives for the energy industry.

CHOI: All right. So they're big winners. Anything in there at all for the average American family?

BORENSTEIN: Well, there is. It depends on where you fall. There is a couple -- there's about $10 billion for low-income families to help them with heating in the wintertime. And that's something that keeps rising, and keeps adding. It's a program called (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

Mostly, the idea is to spur more energy development. And you and I, we're not drilling, so we're not getting anything.

CHOI: Well, Seth, we only have a few seconds left. I know you've been following this very closely. Is there too much pork in this bill for it to pass, though?

BORENSTEIN: That's a good question. The president really wants an energy bill. He's also said he only wants about $8 billion in incentives, to put it nicely. And right now it's looking at 18. At some point it's been in the $30 billion.

I talked to one professor at Harvard who said the president is probably going to hold his nose and sign it because he desperately wants one.

CHOI: Just to say he did something, huh?


CHOI: All right. Seth Borenstein, national environment correspondent for Knight-Ridder newspapers. Thanks so much.

BORENSTEIN: My pleasure.

CHOI: Take care.

Coming up on NEXT@CNN: an Arctic island loses another big chunk of ice. Could a warming trend make the fabled northwest passage a reality?

Also ahead, a government recall for the Segway scooters seems, under certain conditions, they're not as tip proof as first thought.


CHOI: Taking another quick look at some Next News headlines for this Sunday. The government is recalling the Segway. It seems the nearly untipble scooter may actually be more prone to tipping when the battery runs low.

Three people have been hurt. The Segway company will install a free software upgrade to correct the problem.

New data out this week suggests this year's ozone hole over the an Antarctic is the second largest on record, about the size of North America. But the news isn't all bad or as bad as it might seem. Scientists say the international effort to mend the ozone hole is on track. They expect the hole to completely close up within the next 100 years or so.

When Hurricane Fabian pounded Bermuda earlier this month, among the hardest hit residents was a rare sea bird called the Bermuda Petrol. It's the island nation's national bird. The storm destroyed at least 10 of the 70 manmade nesting burrows and parts of the nesting islands were washed away.

Bermuda is racing to rebuild the bird's habitat. Bird Life International estimates only 180 Bermuda Petrols remain.

Well, scientists announced this week that the largest Arctic ice shelf, the massive Ward Hunt ice shelf, located off northern Canada, is cracking apart. This is just the latest piece of evidence suggesting that a very real warming trend is going on at the top of the world.

I spoke earlier today with Richard Alley, a geo scientist at Penn State, about what's going on in the Arctic and what's causing it.


CHOI: Professor Alley, thanks so much for taking time out for us.

RICHARD ALLEY, PENN STATE UNIVERSITY: It's a pleasure to be here and I thank you for having me.

CHOI: So tell us, what kind of evidence is out there that there's a real warming trend in the Arctic?

ALLEY: There's quite a lot of evidence showing warming in the Arctic. Thermometers show warming, and that's the easiest one to think of. Changes such as the recent breakup of the Ward Hunt ice shelf is showing that warming is going on. Sea ice is getting a little bit smaller, so the frozen ocean water and really cold environments is not taking up as much of the Arctic as it used to.

There's melting of permafrost in many regions going on. Most of the glaciers in the Arctic are getting smaller. And a number of other changes that are all pointing towards warming.

CHOI: You mentioned the Ward Hunt ice shelf cracking, and we got that news out this week. How big a deal is that?

ALLEY: If you lived right there, it's a big deal. In terms of does that change the world, no. It's a sign of something bigger going on.

CHOI: And what is causing the something bigger than that's going on, the warming?

ALLEY: Trying to say why the warming happened is, of course, quite difficult. Early in the 1900s, before World War II, warming was happening apparently for natural reasons. The sun was getting just a little bit brighter, and there were fewer volcanic eruptions that were blocking the sun.

Since World War II, it looks like there are two things that are contributing a lot to the warming. One of those things seems to be human changes in the atmosphere, greenhouse gases. The pattern of warming looks like what we expect based on our understanding of greenhouse gases.

The second thing is that the way the storms in the Arctic work has changed a little bit. There's something called the North Atlantic oscillation, which is the arctic equivalent of the El Nino phenomenon. And that has been sliding into the positive phase that pumps big storms and a lot of heat up into the Arctic. That, in turn, may be partly caused by humans changing the atmosphere, because our understanding of how carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases work indicates that they may strengthen this pumping of storms into the high latitudes that would warm the Arctic.

CHOI: What do you say to the small but vocal group of scientists who say, hey, people really have nothing do with this. This is really just a regional climate variation, and we don't know much about it.

ALLEY: Well, of course, they could be right. You know, as a scientist, I am never sure. I always believe that there's more to learn.

I hope I'll learn it, and I suspect that my students will learn it. But nonetheless, we're not certain and we never will be. However, the science behind this is very good.

The community working on it is very large. They're spending your tax dollars to learn these things. And the results are consistent from the models, from the observations, and so on, that the warming is happening, it's going along with the human changes and the greenhouse gases. And it has mostly the pattern we expect from those greenhouse gases.

So it could be nature. But it probably isn't.

CHOI: OK. Professor Richard Alley from Penn State, thank you so much for taking time out to chat with us about this topic today.

ALLEY: Thank you very much. It's been a pleasure.


CHOI: And don't go away. Still to come right here on NEXT@CNN, we'll look at a list of the best and worst when it comes to protecting employee privacy. Find out if your company is a corporate snoop.


CHOI: Well, ever feel like a nosey co-worker is trying to sneak a look at your computer? Well, they may not be the only with ones watching. "Wired" magazine says your boss may be the biggest snoop in your office. Keeping tabs on employees with Internet monitoring, key stroke tracking and sifting through emails has never been more common.

"Wired's" Mark Robinson joins us from San Francisco to tell us which companies look out for their employees' privacy and which companies actually choose to invade it. Thanks so much for joining us.

MARK ROBINSON, "WIRED" SENIOR EDITOR: It's good to be with you.

CHOI: So real quickly, what criteria did you use to rank these companies?

ROBINSON: Well, what we did was we talked to probably a dozen agencies and organizations that follow privacy in the work place, everything from the Privacy Institute to the ACLU to the Work Rights Institute. And we took their nominations for the best companies and the worst companies. We called the companies, and then we applied some editorial judgment to come up with a list of the best sort of hall of fame and the worst sort of rogue's gallery.

CHOI: All right. Well, let's take a look at the list and you can comment on these companies as we go through them. And we begin with the best. IBM, what makes IBM so good?

ROBINSON: Well, IBM's been a leader from way back in the '60s on privacy. And the company, in fact, has its health care partners even participating in some of the privacy protections now. What's interesting about IBM, too, is that they have a $9 billion consulting practice, where they're integrating systems. And they're actually helping install some of this tracking software. But they're also there to educate companies about what's good privacy practice and what's not so good.

CHOI: HP is second on your list. And third on your list, Ford, which actually uses European privacy laws, not American, for their global policies, huh?

ROBINSON: Right. There is a set of standards that the U.S. Department of Commerce came up with, but that wasn't stringent enough for Ford. So they went with some standards that the EU has promulgated. And they're very strict about it in terms of how they handle the private information of employees and how they transfer it or don't transfer it. There's no, for example, movement of employee information transnationally within Ford.

CHOI: Baxter (ph) Health Care and Sears rounds out the top five. And now a list of those companies that didn't fare so well in your study. Eli Lilly tops the list. Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in America, is second. What's the problem here?

ROBINSON: Well, Wal-Mart made the list because -- well, for a number of reasons. But one that really stuck out was, since 1999, they've been on the losing end of three lawsuits for infringing employee privacy everything from sending managers in to tape record conversations with all kinds of employees, not just those under investigation. In one case, they actually went into a contractor's house and took material and put it out on the front lawn, and it really invaded his privacy.

CHOI: OK. Well, "The New York Times" and Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Hilton hotels rounds out the top five of the worst. And you can see the entire list in "Wired" magazine.

Mark Robinson, senior editor of "Wired" magazine, thanks so much for joining us. It's an interesting study.

ROBINSON: Thank you.

CHOI: Take care.

Well, just talking about them can get you all itchy. Those pesky little bed bugs and their nasty bites seem to be making a comeback, thanks to international trade and travel. Kris Osborn takes a look at an unwelcome return.


KRIS OSBORN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): About a quarter of an long and lurking undetected in corners, these little creatures stalk their prey then attack.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've seen a tremendous increase over the past several years, and every year it continues to get worse. Bedbugs are back and they're biting us all over.

OSBORN: Pest control experts say that across the country bedbugs are making a big, itchy comeback. These six legged parasites like to travel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bed bugs can go from point A to point B. They're great hitchhikers, can catch a ride on luggage.

OSBORN: They also enjoy feeding on warm blooded mammals, like humans. Their calling card looks like this: large, red welts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some people react with just a mild welt. Other people get a pretty nice red spot when they're bitten by bed bugs.

OSBORN: The key to counterattack, pest experts say, is knowing where the enemy is.

(on camera): What's a telltale sign if you know you have bedbugs?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the most important thing is the bedbugs are not going to be coming out into the open. If they are going to infest a bed, they're typically going to be inside the mattress at the seams.

OSBORN (voice-over): Bedbugs are nocturnal and good at hiding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are going to be in baseboards, in the lighting, electrical outlets, switches, even furniture. Any place there's a very tight spot.

OSBORN: Bedbugs aren't dangerous and don't spread disease, but they are resilient. They can hibernate in floor boards for months, and modern pesticides usually target a specific insect, ansts or cockroaches, for example. The bedbugs go free. But exterminators say they are not invincible.

(on camera): Can you wipe them out auto completely?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you can eliminate them.

OSBORN (voice-over): Until perhaps the next arrivals.

Kris Osborn, CNN, New York.


CHOI: And pest control experts say you should vacuum your luggage after a trip, check your bed sheets thoroughly, and call an exterminator immediately if you see any evidence of bedbugs.

Well, that's all the time we have for now. But before we go, here's a peek at what's coming up next week.

You think your job is rough? These herding dogs have to be part traffic cop and part psychologist, controlling sheep and cattle. How do they do it? We'll show you some amazing partnerships between these dogs and their humans.

That story and much more coming up next week. We hope you will join us.


Possibly Launch First Manned Mission To Space; Hotels Have Shown To Have High Levels Of Bed Bugs>

International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.