Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 20, 2014

George Takei Talks Snowden, Japanese Internment and YouTube

takei001 030906 445x310 George Takei Talks Snowden, Japanese Internment and YouTube

Takei, left, seen here in a previous Hill visit with Rep. Henry A. Waxman, remains politically active. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Actor George Takei is in town, in part, to promote the AARP YouTube show he hosts, and he chatted with your Technocrat correspondent about his personal history, political activism and his thoughts on the National Security Agency surveillance program.

At a “Selfies with George” AARP event promoting its Takei’s Take channel, which starts its second season next month, the original Mr. Sulu stated a simple demographic fact that was nevertheless startling: “My Star Trek fans are now of AARP membership generation.”

Regardless, Takei is still a part of the emerging tech world, as illustrated in his video on online dating.

When asked whether he’s been following any technology policy movements in D.C., Takei talked about the the NSA’s surveillance program.

“The discussion that’s been stimulated by Edward Snowden has been I think a very important discussion,” he said, adding that he thinks Snowden should return to the United States, instead of being “sequestered” away from the debate.

“I think it … would have been important for him to stay here and be part of that discussion actively himself here,” he said. “Because it is an important discussion.”

Martin Luther King Jr.  “knew that there were laws that were unjust,” understood that he had to break them in order to see change and was “willing to pay the price for breaking those laws,” Takei said. Doing that “added greater urgency to the discussion,” he said.

Takei said he’s “on the side” of  privacy, saying it’s “not according to our Constitution” to have what he called a broad sweep inspection of privacy — but said that he’s also “torn.”

“I mean, I think we all are,” he said. “I want to be able to fly planes knowing that I’m gonna be able to reach my destination. And at the same time, I also want my private conversation, private communications to be private.”

To read the rest of the story, go to Roll Call’s Heard on the Hill, where the piece was initially published.

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