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JPL scientists fight for right to privacy before the Supreme Court




Birds fly past a NASA logo on the Vehicle Assembly Building  at Kennedy Space Center.
Birds fly past a NASA logo on the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center.
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

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It seems a given that scientists working on space projects should have some kind of background check. But the issue being argued before the Supreme Court today is, how far can the checks go? Jet Propulsion Laboratory employees say background checks for employees not working on classified projects are intrusive and unduly violate their privacy. NASA, represented by the Department of Justice, argues that the checks are a necessary precaution to protect American technological secrets and in keeping with a Bush-era presidential directive to beef up security on government projects. Where should the line on privacy be drawn in cutting-edge government labs?

Guests:

Kitty Felde, KPCC Washington Correspondent

Robert Nelson, Senior Research Scientist at JPL and lead plaintiff