00:00:00 | 3:02:50




The FBI says police kill about 500 people a year in the United States. Two newspapers report it's at least twice that many. The truth is that nobody knows. Do we need new rules to establish accountability?

Also,new Snowden documents show that NSA widened its spying on hackers. On today's Talking Point, Russia's massive disinformation campaign for American audiences.

Photo: Fibonacci Blue

New Snowden Docs Show NSA Widened Its Spying on Hackers 6 MIN, 30 SEC

After weeks of political wrangling, the USA Freedom Act was enacted to limit domestic spying by the National Security Agency. Now it turns out that the Obama Administration has expanded the NSA's surveillance of Americans' international Internet traffic — without public notice or any debate. Julia Angwin is the author of Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance. She's also a senior reporter for ProPublica, which worked on this story in collaboration with the New York Times.

Julia Angwin, ProPublica (@JuliaAngwin)

Dragnet Nation

Julia Angwin

Law Enforcement: Some Unanswered Questions 32 MIN, 43 SEC

How many Americans are killed by police every year? Who are they? Are the incidents justified? Nobody knows the answers to those questions. Some 18,000 law enforcement agencies are asked to report to the FBI, but it’s voluntary. They don’t have to if they don’t want to, and different agencies use different standards to measure performance. Two US senators are proposing new rules for accountability, but there’s dispute about whether that’s a good idea. After a flood of stories about police killings, the Washington Post and the Guardian US have compiled statistics of their own — with results that are very different from those of the FBI. Would an accurate national database help to improve law enforcement or generate unwarranted federal power over local police?

Jon Swaine, Guardian US edition (@jonswaine)
Jim Bueermann, Police Foundation (@PoliceFound)
Denise McAllister, The Federalist (@FDRLST)
William Sousa, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (@UNLV)

Guardian US on people killed by police in the US (The Counted)
Police Foundation on implementation of White House federal policy guidelines for police practices
McAllister on how civil rights prove into Ferguson PD could lead to federal take-overs of local police

Russian "Trolls" Wreak Havoc All around the Internet 10 MIN, 50 SEC

Details of a chemical disaster and an Ebola epidemic were just some of the alarming reports that turned up last year on American social media and news sites — all part of a highly sophisticated disinformation campaign originating in Russia. This Sunday's New York Times Magazine carries a story by Adrian Chen, describing an army of well-paid "trolls" in St. Petersburg, Russia — assigned to wreak havoc on the Internet all the way to America. The story begins with accounts of a chemical explosion in St. Mary Parish, Louisiana.

Special thanks to Sarah Sweeney for production assistance.

Adrian Chen, freelance journalist (@AdrianChen )

Subscribe to the 5 Things To Do newsletter

Never miss the best of what to do with your free time.


More From To the Point



View All Events


Player Embed Code