Watch CBSN Live

Tech firms have replaced government as biggest threat to privacy, ex-CIA director Michael Hayden says

Hayden on privacy
Hayden on privacy 02:03

Former CIA and former NSA chief Michael Hayden said Tuesday that technology firms have replaced the government as the biggest threat to Americans' privacy. "Our technology and our ambition have gotten ahead of law, policy and norms and now we're struggling to catch up," Hayden told CBSN's Elaine Quijano on "Red & Blue."

"All of our habits as free people have been built up defending our privacy against the government," Hayden said. "Because it was always the government, and only the government, that was powerful to invade our privacy in any way we cared about. That's no longer true – the government's no longer the primary threat to your privacy or mine – it's private industry now."

While many Americans can cite the Fourth Amendment to protect their privacy, Hayden said the Fourth Amendment doesn't "absolutely" protect privacy -- it protects against "unreasonable search and seizure." The definition of "unreasonable search and seizure" has shifted over time, Hayden said, and that shift is based on the danger people feel and the technology at hand. 

"I think we're due for a serious recalibration as to what it is you and I should demand in terms of our privacy, not just from our government, but our industry too," Hayden said.

Hayden was at the NSA when the agency instituted the warrantless surveillance program, a controversial Bush-era policy that allowed the agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others in the U.S. 

See more:

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue