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Morgan Spurlock: Inside Man: Privacy
Aired May 4, 2014 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MORGAN SPURLOCK, CNN ANCHOR: You ever stop to think about how much you're being watched every single of your life? Security cameras are everywhere. And technology's only made it easier to watch anyone anywhere at any time.
But these technologies aren't just being used to track international criminals or even every day bad guys. They are being used to track ordinary people, people like us.
And it's not just cameras. You're being tracked every time you use your credit card or your cell phone. It seems like these days no matter where you go somebody's watching.
Big question is, who's watching? And why?
If I'm being watched I want the know who's doing it. So, I've enlisted Steve Rambam, a private investigator with more than 30 years of experience to help me find out.
STEVE RAMBAM, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: This is a typical corner in New York.
RAMBAM: You have a camera here. Second camera here. Third camera there. You have a camera down there. You have two right here.
MORGAN: Two right there.
RAMBAM: Yes. This is an average street corner.
RAMBAM: And there is probably within 50 feet of here 20, 25 cameras. Today, the average New Yorker is videoed 350 times a day. Nobody cares. It doesn't even --
MORGAN: Nobody says anything.
MORGAN: Is it because people don't know? Is that the problem?
RAMBAM: I think they're desensitized. MORGAN: Yes.
RAMBAM: I think they assume there's no privacy left and they're cool with it.
RAMBAM: The thing that worries me is it's not just cameras anymore.
MORGAN: Yes. We can see the cameras watching us but these days it's what we can't see that's the problem. Would you tell a stranger your address, your phone number, what about your Social Security number? Probably not. But almost all of us are giving that data away every day online. And usually we don't even know who we're giving it to or what they're doing with it. It seems like every day we are getting -- the world's getting closer and closer to those -- to 1984, big brother, everything we heard about when we were kids.
RAMBAM: It is so far beyond that now.
RAMBAM: What we're living in a constant state of surveillance.
MORGAN: Yes. Let's do a little experiment. I got a new employee. I don't know him very well.
MORGAN: Seriously. Can I track him to see what we can learn about him?
RAMBAM: Sure. I guarantee you that without leaving your office we will know everything there is to know about this guy.
MORGAN: I just hired CJ as an assistant at my production company.
CJ, thanks for coming in.
CJ FERRONI, EMPLOYEE: Thanks.
MORGAN: He's agreed to be part of my surveillance experiment. What he doesn't know is we've already started. So if we're being tracked all the time, how could I track CJ?
RAMBAM: There are endless ways. All you need is one starting point. Sometimes a name is enough.
MORGAN: OK. Let's -- I want do get down and dirty.
RAMBAM: You want to do all this?
MORGAN: I want to get down and dirty and see what we can find out.
RAMBAM: We are going to hunt him like a dog.
MORGAN: Let's get to work.
RAMBAM: This is going to be interesting. You know what? Start with spokeo. People put stuff on social networking sites. Spokeo grabs it and they basically sell it back to everywhere. Type his name right in the search box there.
RAMBAM: And here we have CJ Ferroni. We are going to assume that he is in New York. Click on New York. Click on get full results.
MORGAN: It has like his house.
In 30 seconds with just the name you now have his location history, members of his family's names, we have all the names of his neighbors, we have his house value, we have got his phone number. We have got his e-mail which is critical piece of information.
RAMBAM: And from here, we can move onward and upward.
MORGAN: OK. Where do we go next?
RAMBAM: Let's pull up his facebook page. We know where he went to high school, we know where he went to college, he know he's interested in ultimate fighting. Everybody that he knows.
MORGAN: You are not digging that deep. Literally --
RAMBAM: No. This is not big brother. This is not NSA. This is not somebody invading your privacy. This is stuff you're giving to the world. You just don't realize how much you're giving because once you put something on the net, it is absolutely irrevocably, permanently out of your control.
With nothing more than CJ's his name, we can already find out a ton about him. But that's just scratching the surface. Without breaking the law, we discovered CJ's criminal history.
RAMBAM: Yes. Apparently he is not a criminal.
MORGAN: His parent's address, even his Social Security number.
RAMBAM: There is one site that give you the last five. There is another side that gives you the last four numbers.
MORGAN: But for the info we really want, we are going to get CJ to give it to us. RAMBAM: So let's set up an e-mail tracker. It imbeds something in an e-mail, when the e-mail is open, sends back a little report. You get an IP address.
MORGAN: Everyone with computer or smartphone has an IP address, a unique numerical label assigned to a device. And when someone has yours, they can track almost anything you do online no matter you are.
RAMBAM: It is exactly like a finger print.
MORGAN: Like my digital DNA?
RAMBAM: That's exactly what it is.
RAMBAM: When you go anywhere with your browser, unless you have very strong security settings, that's reporting to everybody everything about you, you know, from the porn sites --
RAMBAM: Everything. Everything. You are what you Google.
MORGAN: So you only watch your porn on DVD.
RAMBAM: I use somebody else's computer. Let them get in trouble.
MORGAN: Even when you think you're just having a little fun, you are actually transmitting a ton of information.
RAMBAM: Here's a whole bunch of twitter photos. That one right there. How about that one?
RAMBAM: Yes. We now have the photo on the desktop.
RAMBAM: In preview right now is something called a EXIF tag reader.
MORGAN: What is an EXIF tag?
RAMBAM: Ant digital photo that you take, tells me the date, time, the unique serial number of the camera, it embedded your GPS location. Within 40 meters I know where you're standing. Now, this is the photo. We're going to go to tools. We'll go to show inspector. Here's the EXIF tags. Going to GPS. Here's the latitude and longitude where he took it and now I'm going to click locate and this was posted just a little while ago. So that means that he's on Columbus between 88th and 87th with let's say his sister. Kind of look alike so I'm guessing. MORGAN: That's amazing. Now that we have got CJ's location, we're going to hone in on just what it is he's doing. CJ knows what we're up to. But if he didn't we'd be breaking the law.
RAMBAM: You want to see how easily it is to track a cell phone?
MORGAN: Yes. We easily hacked into his phone.
RAMBAM: We already know that he's at Columbus between 87 and 88th. Now, that is confirmed with his iphone.
MORGAN: His e-mail and his financial records, which means if we want to steal from him, we can.
RAMBAM: We can look at his credit cards.
MORGAN: That's crazy. If we want to stalk him, we can.
RAMBAM: He's been a busy little beaver today. He started out his day going to the shell station. And then immediately after that, he bought a metro north ticket.
MORGAN: He must have gone to grand central station from there.
RAMBAM: And if you look at twitter, he even has a photo of grand central there.
MORGAN: Of him in grand central when he arrived.
MORGAN: And then he bought some drinks at C Natural. You can see on the credit card.
MORGAN: And that probably links to the picture of his sister, right?
MORGAN: And he headed down to Lincoln plaza.
RAMBAM: Righ, which is confirmed by the twitter photo.
MORGAN: And people do this all the time. People literally document their whole lives and put up pictures constantly.
RAMBAM: Thank God.
MORGAN: Thank God for you.
RAMBAM: Correct. And now he's walking down Columbus. He appears to be on foot.
MORGAN: OK. So this is looking like maybe he's an evolution Muay Thai. We saw on the facebook page he likes, you know, UFC. Saw all those UFC, all that fighting posts. So maybe he's there.
RAMBAM: It makes sense.
This is now data surveillance works. You take data from every source possible and you aggregate it and you can basically watch a guy live his life.
MORGAN: That's scary.
RAMBAM: And it's the new future.
Privacy of individuals is being shredded to nothing. The truth is that every bit of information the NSA or the government is gathering about you, unless you're a terrorist, private industry is gathering exponentially more.
RAMBAM: Every single major online entity is tracking your whereabouts.
MORGAN: Right now?
RAMBAM: Right now.
MORGAN: Where does this all go?
RAMBAM: It's primarily marketers, companies you have never heard of. They're called life style companies.
RAMBAM: Which is a polite way of saying everything you do in your life they gather. They gather information on you when your mother is pregnant with you. They never throw away a data point. They buy every single motor vehicle registration. They buy every voter registration. They buy every property record, every book you buy, every movie you watch. I could go on like this for hours. But they hide behind what a lot of these privacy invaders hide behind. They say, I'm sorry. It's a private business record.
MORGAN: And so if go to one of these companies and say I want to see all the information have on me, would they show it to me?
RAMBAM: They typically don't show it to the average American.
MORGAN: So you can track and CJ, I think I should try to find out where my information is.
RAMBAM: Yes. Good luck with that.
I can't believe how easy it is to get so much information on someone I barely know. It makes me wonder exactly what's out there on me. Maybe it's time I found out. (END VIDEOTAPE)
MORGAN (voice-over): With so much data floating around on the web practically anyone with a mouse pad can track a total stranger. But you got to wonder, who'd want to do that?
So Steve Rambam told me that there's a program that I get download to my computer that would tell me everybody that's tracking me. Light beam is an add-on that records who's been tracking your web activity.
Here's a graph view, 27 different sites. And this is literally only been in the last hour. Multiply that by a month, a year, how deep does the web go? Every time I go to "The New York Times" Web site, 18 different companies are connected to me and following me. I go to Google, ten sites follow me. I go to chase, 14 different companies are following me. I haven't heard of these people. Doubleclick.net. bluekai.com, Acxiom-online. These are like all the wizards behind the curtain watching me and you.
Every time you visit a Web site, put an item in the shopping cart or like a friend's status, data aggregators are collecting that information. They sent it out to hundreds of marketing companies who bid against each other to show you a targeted ad based on what they think you want to buy. No harm in that, right? But it's what happens next that might make you paranoid.
As they accumulate more of your clicks, likes and search history, aggregators categorize your data into lists which are priced and sold to banks, retailers and other businesses. Your data starts out as just a bunch of 1s and 0s and shouldn't be able to be traced back to you but the more it's collected and collated, the easier it is for someone with the right tools to put it back together. And that's when your data starts feeding a pretty complete picture of you.
The question is, can we find out what information they have about me? Want to check out the data about you? You bet I do. So now, I'm actually going to find out what data they have about me by giving them more data about myself. The irony of the situation isn't lost on me.
Here's my characteristic data. Let's see what this says. I am male, that I am Caucasian. That I completed college. That I'm single. That I am a voter but in no party. Here's my home data. Here's my household vehicle data. Estimated household income range. Credit card use, MasterCard, online purchasing activity, true. What a weird answer. I purchase magazines, I purchases cosmetic and beauty aids, I purchase home furnishing. So I don't know where Acxiom is getting their information, but they probably have infinitely more information than this about me and this is what they're selling to other people? I want to go find out how much they really have.
There are literally hundreds of these aggregators doing business but most of the time they'd rather not be seen or heard. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello. Thank you for calling Bluekai.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you for calling tower data.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, you have reached Pamela, a data logic.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, you have reached Jessica.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please leave your message after the tone.
MORGAN: Hey, this is Morgan Spurlock calling. Hey, Tom. It is It's Morgan Spurlock. Hey, Pam. It's Morgan Spurlock. I couldn't get through to anybody on the phone. But I'm not that easy to get rid of. Maybe one of these companies would rather talk to me in person.
So we are in Dallas, Texas. Enroute to Epsilon, just one of the largest data collecting companies. I have tried to make contact to them and they have basically said they don't want to talk to us. This whole business operates in the shadows, no one will go on camera and put a face to that faceless industry. I just want answers.
And here it is. Here's the headquarters of epsilon. Client parking. Am I am a client? I mean, I guess I could be a client. They have my information. Does that count?
Epsilon's one of the biggest data aggregators out there. They have information on 250 million consumers in the U.S. so chances are they've got something on me.
Hey, how are you? Hey, how are you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good. How are you?
MORGAN: Good. I'm Morgan Spurlock. I'm here to get my information.
MORGAN (voice-over): Getting my data's been a lot harder than I thought but I figure the place is right at the top.
Brian Kennedy is the CEO of Epsilon, one of the biggest and the most profitable data aggregators in the U.S. So I'm going to see if he'll give me my data.
Hey, how are you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good. How are you?
MORGAN: Good. I'm Morgan Spurlock. I'm here to see Brian Kennedy to get my information.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have an appointment with him? MORGAN: I don't.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most of our executives are out today.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Morgan Spurlock?
MORGAN: Morgan Spurlock, yes. Thanks.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Sure. She wants to talk to you.
MORGAN: Sure. Hey, this is Morgan. Yes. So I'm down in the lobby. I wanted to see if Brian could come down and maybe help me get my data. Is there someone else I could talk to today? Since we came down from New York. I mean, anyone. OK. Thank you very much.
First they told me that the lawyer was coming to talk to me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have our legal department coming over to talk to you guys.
MORGAN: OK. Cool. That's great. Then he told me he wasn't coming to talk to me and finally, they told me to call this guy. Is he here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is not here.
MORGAN: He is not here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Probably the corporate headquarters.
MORGAN: Where is that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Play no.
MORGAN: In play no? Is there Larry?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
MORGAN: Hey, it's Morgan Spurlock calling. How are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good. How are you?
MORGAN: I'm doing well. We are down at Epsilon headquarters and we will gladly come over and talk to you right now. Plano is very close. We'll be there in 20 minutes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually. This isn't a story we're really interested in participating in.
MORGAN: And why is that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We really don't want to get distracted by doing an interview situation.
MORGAN: Could you tell me, is everything that's being done being done legally?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh yes, yes. Everything is -- everything is totally legal and there's nothing secretive about it.
MORGAN: Should we be concerned with the information that's being gathered about us?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. It is just marketing data. You know? It's interesting. All right, we are dealing is serving you.
MORGAN: Yes. The question is, do we have a choice anymore or are we being targeted without really having that choice?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. There's a choice. There's always a choice. You can opt out of everything.
MORGAN: Well, I guess that's true except for one thing. You can't opt out of something if you don't know you're already in. How many times have you actually read a service agreement? Well, maybe you should. Because when you swipe your credit card or sign up for almost anything online, you're opting in. And that means company and sell your information even stuff you think would stay private.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To make safe, losses are actually in a horrific car crash, that tragic fact was included on the letter he received from office max.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why would they have that kind of information?
MORGAN: Privacy advocates reported that data brokers sell lists of rape victims, alcoholics and people suffering with HIV or aids to marketers. Seems to me most people opt out of being on a list like that if they knew it existed.
Well, I appreciate your time. Thank you, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure thing.
MORGAN: Take care. Bye-bye.
Well, my trip to Epsilon has been more or less a bust, but I don't feel like giving up just yet.
Hey, it's Morgan Spurlock again. I can quick one last question. So, is there no one here at Epsilon where we are right now who would be kind of just walk me through what information they have about me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the short answer is no. The team that pulls that is actually in Colorado.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it does have to just for legal reasons it has to be requested in writing.
MORGAN: OK. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has to go to the home address.
MORGAN: All right. Thank you, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure.
Apparently if I want my own information I can't even come here. I have to like apply in writing to the facility in Colorado where they then verify it and send it to me. Is it that hard for me to get my own information? Is it that hard for me to track down my own data? I guess it's not tracking down. It is like I know who has it. They just won't give it to me.
But what is my data? What does it look like? Well, to companies like Epsilon, it looks like dollar signs because your data is big business. One worth over $156 billion in 2012. But they say they're not doing anything illegal with it so what's the problem?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The secret service is investigating a major data breach at Target.
MORGAN: Well, for one thing, they're not securing it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Another possible data breach.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Data breach.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Massive data breach.
In 2013, hundreds of major companies were breached including Apple, Facebook, Living Social, Neiman-Marcus and Target.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tens of millions of customer credit card numbers and personal information compromised.
MORGAN: And that's a big deal. That's because last year, one in three data breach victims suffered from identity theft. Once your identity is hacked, criminals can clean out your bank account, max out your credit cards and open accounts in your name.
So if my info is out there for the taking, why can't I get it back? It should be completely transparent. I should be able to click and see what everybody has about me. And then have the choice whether or not to keep it out there. I want to opt out.
Tracking down my data has me little stressed out. Time for some good old-fashioned relaxation to get my mind off things.
Control your x-box with your voice or hands. Make sure the sensor can see you. It's me. When's your birthday? Pick a password. Choose I accept. Content includes anything you upload to, store on or -- review -- if you don't agree -- you can't use the service. Good lord. Get your games, TV shows, music, friends faster when sign-in is auto magical. Sign in without even turning on a light or putting down your sandwich. It knows -- it knows its customers.
So x-box knows what movies I like. How does that really hurt me? After all, the more info I give my x-box, the better it knows what I like and the more I can focus on the fun stuff. That's genius.
These days, there are hundreds of devices designed to collect all kinds of data. There are apps that help me lose weight, track my run times, even share all that with my friends. The future of data collection is full of potential and as technology gets cheaper, more and more of us can become our own data factories producing and assessing our own data for our own benefit.
Well, I've seen some pretty scary things but the real question is, is there any advantage to this technology? I guess it be good for us at some point and no one knows the future that better than the good folks at Google.
Hey, how are you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Morgan?
MORGAN: How are you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nadi. Welcome?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welcome to glass base camp. Ready?
Glass base camp. It is like I'm an astronaut.
Yes. I don't know about this. Looks completely normal. I don't see the white. Like a little classier. I look like data from "star trek." oh, orange. I do feel like a cyborge (ph). I only look 37 percent like an idiot. Which for me I think is an improvement.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So this is glass, swiping forwards and backwards takes you through the interface.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then press once to take a picture or you hold down for about two seconds to start recording a video. Have you put them on? You can look at yourself if you want to see --
MORGAN: Well, hello. That's amazing.
Google glass is a hands free personal computer that allow you to research, photograph and record just about everything you do in a day. And it's aiming to be the first consumer technology to literally change the way we see the world.
OK, glass, get directions to Madison Square Garden, 21 minutes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
MORGAN: OK, glass, close map. This is bananas. OK, glass. Google how do you say where's the bathroom in Japanese?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you heard it read aloud to you?
MORGAN: That is amazing and it read it in my hear. OK, glass, send the message.
Hey, Matt, I'm wearing my glasses. Living that dream. Wish you were here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's it. That's how quickly it is.
MORGAN: That's crazy.
I want to go explore. OK, glass. Explore nearby. It is remarkable. OK, glass. Take a picture. Cakes.
OK, glass. Google vopia. That's amazing. Kind of ridiculous.
Par 3. Hold two. Here we go.
Like a smartphone, glass up loads your web searches, photos and other data to the Google cloud. Now get up. Get up. Get over, get over. That was very close. I'm giving myself a par. Where the info is stored indefinitely. Yes.
This is amazing. And that's where things gate little creepy because that means Google has unlimited access to everything I've saved, even this picture of a total stranger, not to mention my credit card number.
OK, glass. Record a video. Glass opens up a Pandora's Box of privacy concerns which is why the device is also banned in some casinos, restaurants and bars.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tonight, we're wearing from a people at a bar where a woman was attacked because she was wearing the new Google glass.
MORGAN: But Google says that with a little common courtesy, the benefits will out way the concerns.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's helping her and other people with disabilities navigate their world.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Record a video.
MORGAN: So maybe it's how we use glass that really matters.
Is there a concern that somehow like Google glass might be used for nefarious purposes? Do I have a fear of being tracked through my glasses?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, for me, it is just taking pictures and, you know, and doing things I already normally do with my phone and just makes it for me hands free.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Technology's here to stay and vastly and quickly improving. Glass is really meant to still have access to the technology but you're also able to have human interactions with people.
MORGAN: Maybe Navi is right. After all, Google glass isn't doing anything my cell phone can't already do and maybe that a is the problem. Maybe we have already given up what's left of our privacy. The question is, is there anything to do about it?
It is going to 39 tomorrow, 46 Saturday, partly cloudy, 50 on Sunday. It's going to be a nice weekend.
MORGAN (voice-over): With all of the data companies invading my life on a daily basis, I thought someone would come clean and give me my info.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Diane Bruno is not available to take your call.
MORGAN: I've called dozens of these places and so far no success. All these aggregators are out there watching me so I've been wondering, who else is? Well, maybe it is one of these guys.
Drones are popping up all over the country and you might be surprised when's flying them. it is like every terminator nightmare I've had come to life.
Hey, man. I'm Morgan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello. Kevin.
MORGAN: Kevin, how are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Chris Vo. Chris, Morgan.
MORGAN: how are you. Good to see you.
Those are incredible.
Chris and Kevin build and fly their own drones and they want people to know there's more to these eyes in the sky than we might think. What do you use them for? What's the idea behind the consumer grade drones?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, consumer grade drones really I guess came along when people can buy in like traditional They came along when people combined RC aircraft with smarter brains so once that stuff got cheap enough to incorporate it into something like this, we get consumer level drones and cheap. I mean, this thing is probably $300 with everything I have on here.
MORGAN: What are the coolest things people do on this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One group is working on helping stop poaching efforts in Africa.
And my team working on a way to deliver vaccines to remote locations.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Search and rescue is another like obvious use.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One thing we're trying to do is dream up ways of making the future better instead of heading towards a future where the government has big evil drones and the rest of us are sort of legislated out of existence.
MORGAN: That's a great idea. Scary drones, they're not just for the government anymore.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're not.
MORGAN: These things are a ton of fun. But imagine what it would be like if everybody had one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anyone in the country can buy a small, remote controlled drone.
MORGAN: While drones have been used by the military to target terrorists based on GPS data, the federal aviation administration doesn't allow commercial use but in December 2013, the government announced that drone testing program in nine states. The FAA projects within five years, 7,500 commercial drones will be flying around America but they have to compete with the drones that our government and police sending up into the skies already.
Maybe in the future we may not have drones of our own, but if you want to out-NSA the NSA, maybe we should. Because if the whistle-blowers are right, the NSA already knows a lot about you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Millions of Americans reportedly having the phone records seized without their knowledge.
MORGAN: Beginning in June 2013, documents about the nsa's secret surveillance programs were leaked to the press. They claim that even though they're not the ones collecting it, all the government has to do to get your data is subpoena it from the companies you trust the most.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: AOL, Skype, You Tube, Apple.
MORGAN: So any of your digital communications, phone calls, texts, e- mails can easily become property of the U.S. government. Some companies try to provide secure services but they're still not safe from the government's prying eye.
Ladar Levison founded Lavabit, an encrypted e-mail service in 2004 as an alternative to e-mail services like Gmail. Messages sent through Lavabit were considered much more secure than other encrypted e-mails. But in the summer of 2013, the FBI came calling. They wanted all of the SSL keys, basically the keys to the encryption codes that protected Lavabits users but rumor has it, they really only wanted one, that of Edward Snowden.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Edward Snowden reveal the secrets surveillance operations that went far beyond anything that the public imagined.
MORGAN: Ladar refused and was threatened with jail time. ultimately, given no choice, he was forced to turn over the information. He shut down Lavabit three days later. And now challenging a contempt of court order on the grounds that the government violated the fourth amendment.
At what point did the government agency contact you and you were like this is odd?
LADAR LEVISON, FOUNDER, LAVABIT: When the agents were in my kitchen and they brought up the demand for the SSL keys.
MORGAN: Why you feel like what they were asking for was kind of going beyond what the government had the right to have access to?
LEVISON: With the keys, they would have had the ability to modify information, collect whatever they want without kind of any kind of transparency or oversight. I built a secure system, they wanted to pry it open with a crowbar and I wasn't comfortable with that.
LEVISON: And there was an epiphany where all of the sudden I realize I cooperate with the FBI which was something I was completely uncomfortable with or I get arrested. I put everything I had into building that business and then --
LEVISON:-- I mean, that's a pretty frightening realization to come to.
We reached out the FBI for comment but they never responded.
LEVISON: I stood up to the government. You know? It's what many companies we hope should have said when they were approached but instead they forked over source code.
MORGAN: This was happening at other e-mail providers.
LEVISON: All the other major services had already been compromised one way or another.
MORGAN: Google, Yahoo! Hotmail, you name it.
This is a real kind of fourth amendment issue.
LEVISON: Well, they maintained a couple of things. One, if it was only a computer looking at the information that the fourth amendment didn't apply. That it wasn't a violation of anybody's privacy --
MORGAN: Because it is not a person.
LEVISON: It is not a person.
MORGAN: That's amazing.
LEVISON: And then they also maintained they would never do anything that was illegal.
MORGAN: They're the government.
LEVISON: They're the government which means they also get to define what's legal and what's not.
MORGAN: What do discoveries like this mean for the average citizen?
LEVISON: It means as a society we're stripped naked. Everything we say and do, electronically, is out there in the cloud and stored for an indefinite period of time. And if we say and do anything that can be interpreted the wrong way, it could potentially come back to bite us and we're in the process now of setting the standard about what is right and what is wrong when it comes to government surveillance. Those standards are going to live on long after we leave this world.
MORGAN: Yes. So what are the standards we're setting? When it comes to data collection, it's like a digital wild west. But that could all be changing. Since the NSA came under scrutiny, the government has made climbs, it will approach data collection differently.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll reform programs and procedures in place to provide greater transparency to our surveillance activities.
MORGAN: And when it comes to marketing data, just this February, a data transparency act was introduced to the Senate. If passed, it will give consumers the ability to access and correct information held on them.
Even though these legislative measures may not solve the problem, they're making a lot of people reconsider the notion of privacy.
So here's what I found out. The marketers have my data. The government has the ability to subpoena my data. It's like the only person who can't access my data is me. And what I really start to worry about, I mean, I understand why the government needs to have the power and the ability to do this. You know? We live in a time where there are real threats out there to our security.
You know, we live in a time where there are real threats out there to our security. But what I start to question is how much of our freedom are we giving up in the name of safety? And do we really want to live in a world where that's happening?
I mean, I don't know about you guys, I love my technology, but I also like my liberty. It's a tricky balance.
So now I've seen the future of privacy. We'll walk around wearing computers on our faces, followed around by many drones while the government keeps track of everything we do. Seems like in the future there might not be one moment of your life left unwatched.
MORGAN: I've been looking for my data for weeks and none of the data collection companies have given me anything, even Epsilon told me to get it the old-fashioned way. So I wept on Epsilon's Web site and I got my marketing data summary request form which they told me I have to fill out to get information. I'm going to guess in six to eight weeks I'll have my marketing information. I'll receive my marketing data summary via postal mail to the address written below. Talk about old school. It is like they have to send it via snail mail to me.
Snail mail seems like a pretty inconvenient method to request my data. Epsilon data management. You can't help but think it's inconvenient on purpose. I have no idea what I'm going to get back. That's the real question.
All right. Epsilon already has what's out there on me. There's not much I can do about that now. But maybe while I wait for my snail mail I can find out about how to stop putting my data out there in the future.
I figured Steve might have some ideas about protecting what's left of my privacy.
So what are the things I could do to protect myself?
RAMBAM: First of all, cell phone. Turn off location tracking. Don't download apps that you don't need. Forty five percent of your apps reports your location.
MORGAN: Almost half of my apps.
RAMBAM: Forty five percent of your apps are reporting where you are.
MORGAN: That's crazy.
RAMBAM: Use encrypted e-mail. It's ridiculously easy and free to do that. Use a browser like Firefox.
MORGAN: OK. RAMBAM: Firefox is constantly up dated, Firefox does not track you. Search engine, use duck duck go which keeps no history and doesn't track who you are.
RAMBAM: The most important thing that you can do, don't over share. It's a little annoying to do this stuff. The truth is if you just surrender, if you become, you know, if you let yourself be assimilated we the borg as the expression goes, you have no problems. Everything's easy. You know, here's the problem.
RAMBAM: All of the online services and all of the marketers and all of the powers that be out there make you choose between convenience and privacy.
MORGAN: OK. So it's either my convenience or my privacy. I don't really want to make that choice but I don't have a lot of other options. Data deletion companies might help. For $1259 year abind.com will scour data collection sites for your data, remove it and send you a privacy report. Then there's black phone, a security oriented smartphone that runs on a custom encrypted system. But that's still doesn't change the fact if you've ever use a computer, a lot of your data is out there and will never go away.
RAMBAM: The one thing you need to internalize is once something is out there, it is absolutely permanently out of your control.
MORGAN (voice-over): After dozens of phone calls and plenty of rejections by data companies, I've pretty much given up on getting my data. BUT I got a call from Steve who said he had one last surprise for me.
How are you?
RAMBAM: How are you doing?
MORGAN: Good. Good to see you.
RAMBAM: How's your search for your data going?
MORGAN: Terrible. Nobody would talk to me. Nobody would, you know, come clean with us. Nobody would give me anything. It was terrible.
RAMBAM: Not a surprise.
RAMBAM: But not a problem.
RAMBAM: I've got all your data with me?
MORGAN: What do you mean you got it all?
RAMBAM: Well, I mean after a while I ran out of space in the file so I stopped printing but --
RAMBAM: I mean, it is about the size of the Milwaukee phone book.
MORGAN: That's ridiculous.
RAMBAM: Yes. Yes.
MORGAN: This is everything they have?
RAMBAM: That's the overview.
MORGAN: So why would no companies give this to me?
RAMBAM: Two reasons. First, they don't want to establish a precedent. If they give it to you, trust me, 300 million Americans would want it. And frankly, there would be a revolution against the ad entities. If you knew the information they had on you, you would go nuts. There would be a second American revolution. Look through it. Be paranoid. Have a good day.
I'll see you later.
MORGAN: Thank you.
Crazy. I mean, when you see it all in one place it's disarming. Here it is. Here's my Social Security number. Here's my phone number. My old address in West Virginia where I grew up. My address, my date of birth, my first ex-wife, my second ex-wife. Look at the pictures. That's the other thing. Many we my kid. Me with my kid. This is just twitter. That's very fitting. There's -- Edward Snowden inside man. Kind of perfect. It's crazy.
What I'm realizing looking at this, one, how I will never be anonymous again. So much of my life is already out there. The question is, do I stop? Or do I say, no, I'm all in this. I'm going to keep doing this?
Well, it seems like the only way to keep my data off the internet is drop out of modern life. But in my line of work, that is nearly impossible.
I'm sharer. What can I say? I'm a sharer.
Still, my privacy is important to me. I don't want someone stealing my credit card info, let alone my identity. So until there are laws to keep my data safe,. Maybe I should be more aware of where I am putting in. And maybe I should read all 76 pages that serves as agreement.
But in the meantime, I have a brand-new x-box to play with.
It is so magical.