tv 60 Minutes CBS August 24, 2014 7:00pm-8:02pm PDT
captioning funded by cbs and ford >> so, here you're seeing all the third parties that are present on this site. >> kroft: so all these people are getting the information? when you're surfing the internet on your computer or smart phone, you may think you're alone, but you're not. as you will see tonight, some of your most private information is being harvested and sold to companies you've never heard of, everything from your medical history and bad habits to user names and religions. if you're not that concerned about internet privacy, you should watch this before you go back online. >> i think most people have no idea that it's being collected and sold, and that it's personally identifiable about them and that the information is in basically a profile of them. >> simon: three years after the disaster at fukushima in japan, you can still see the impact in the towns that neighbor the
power plant, because they're empty. we were allowed to go to the town of tomioka recently, but the loudspeakers warned visitors they should leave. the disaster seems to have stopped time. the clock shows 2:46, the moment the earthquake hit. and the damage to shops and homes looks like it could have happened yesterday. >> pelley: the humpback is one of the most fascinating creatures on earth. 80% of their lives are spent submerged. >> here, we see a male standing on his head, upside down, singing a song. >> pelley: males in one region will all sing the same song the same way. but next year, they'll return with a new composition. as you will see tonight, it is
remarkable that this whale has been able to come back at all. >> kroft: i'm steve kroft. >> stahl: i'm lesley stahl. >> safer: i'm morley safer. >> simon: i'm bob simon. >> pelley: i'm scott pelley. those stories tonight on "60 minutes." >> good evening, today's california earthquake could hit napa's 50 billion wine industry lard. the ousted ceo has made a $1.5 billion offer. and guardians of the galaxy has made a summertime, i'm jim
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♪ live your life right ♪ make the beat the bump ♪ the undeniable! ♪ come into the party in a b-boy stance ♪ i rock on the mic ♪ and make the world wanna dance ♪ fly like a dove ♪ that come from up above ♪ i'm rocking on the mic ♪ and you can call me mos love ♪ ooooohh!!! ♪ yeah yeah. yeah yeah. ♪ >> kroft: over the past year, a huge amount of attention has been paid to government snooping, and the bulk collection and storage of vast amounts of raw data, all in the name of national security.
what most of you don't know, or are just beginning to realize, is that a much greater and more immediate threat to your privacy is coming from thousands of companies you've never heard of, in the name of commerce. they're called data brokers, and they are collecting, analyzing, and packaging some of our most sensitive personal information and selling it as a commodity-- to each other, to advertisers, even the government, often without our direct knowledge. as we first reported in march, much of this is the kind of harmless consumer marketing that's been going on for decades. what's changed is the volume and nature of the data being mined from the internet and our mobile devices, and the growth of a multi-billion dollar industry that operates in the shadows with virtually no oversight. companies and marketing firms have been gathering information about customers and potential customers for years, collecting names and addresses, tracking credit card purchases, and
asking people to fill out questionnaires so they can offer discounts and send catalogues. but today, people are giving up more and more private information about themselves online, without knowing that it's being harvested and personalized, and sold to lots of different people-- our likes and dislikes, our closest friends, our bad habits, even our daily movements, both on and offline. federal trade commissioner julie brill says we have lost control of our most personal information. are people putting this together and making dossiers? >> julie brill: absolutely. >> kroft: with names attached to it? with personal identification? >> brill: the dossiers are about individuals. that's the whole point of these dossiers. it is information that is individually identified to an individual or linked to an individual. >> kroft: do you think most people know this information is being collected? >> brill: i think most people have no idea that it's being collected and sold, and that it is personally identifiable about them, and that the information
is in, basically, a profile of them. >> kroft: no one even knows how many companies there are trafficking our data. but it's certainly in the thousands, and would include research firms, all sorts of internet companies, advertisers, retailers and trade associations. the largest data broker is acxiom, a marketing giant that brags it has, on average, 1,500 pieces of information on more than 200 million americans. it's much harder for americans to get information on acxiom. the company declined our request for an interview, and is fairly vague about the methods it uses to collect information and who its customers are. >> tim sparapani: it's not about what we know we're sharing; it's about what we don't know is being collected and sold about us. >> kroft: and tim sparapani says it's a lot. he has been following the data broker industry for years, first as a privacy lawyer for the american civil liberties union, then as facebook's first director of public policy. he's currently advising tech companies and app makers.
sparapani thinks people would be stunned to learn the kind of information that's being gathered about them and that could end up in their profiles: religion, ethnicity, political affiliations, user names, income, and family medical history. and that's just for openers. what about medications? >> sparapani: certainly. you can buy, from any number of data brokers, by malady, the lists of individuals in america who are afflicted with a particular disease or condition. >> kroft: alcoholism? >> sparapani: yes. absolutely. >> kroft: depression? >> sparapani: certainly. >> kroft: psychiatric problems? >> sparapani: no question. >> kroft: history of genetic problems? >> sparapani: yes. cancer, heart disease, you name it, down to the most rare and... and unexpected maladies. >> kroft: sexual orientation? >> sparapani: of course. >> kroft: how do they determine that? >> sparapani: well, based on a series of other data points they bought and sold-- what clubs you may be frequenting, what bars and restaurants you're making purchases at, what other products you may be buying online.
>> kroft: and all of this can end up in a file somewhere that's being sold maybe to a prospective employer. >> sparapani: yeah, not only can it-- it is, steve. >> kroft: with all this information and your name attached to it? >> sparapani: yes, exactly. >> kroft: sparapani says data brokers have been flying under the radar for years, preferring that people know as little as possible about the industry and the information that's being collected and sold. but the evidence is there if you know where to look. we were able to go online and find all sorts of companies peddling sensitive personalized information. a connecticut data broker called statlistics advertises lists of gay and lesbian adults; and response solutions, people suffering from bipolar disorder. paramount lists operates out of this building in erie, pennsylvania, and offers lists of people with alcohol, sexual and gambling addictions, and people desperate to get out of debt. a chicago company, exact data, is brokering the names of people
who had a sexually transmitted disease, as well as lists of people who have purchased adult material and sex toys. >> sparapani: no one has ever looked into these lists. in fact, most of this has been completely opaque until just recently. the depths of this industry, the really darkest corners, have yet to be exposed to any light whatsoever. >> kroft: every piece of data about us now seems to be worth something to somebody. and lots more people are giving up information about people they do business with, from state departments of motor vehicles to pizza parlors. >> sparapani: most retailers are finding out that they have a secondary source of income, which is that the data about their customers is probably just about as valuable, maybe even more so, than the actual product or service that they're selling to the individual. so, there's a whole new revenue stream that many companies have found. >> kroft: that data becomes much more valuable when it's married to the personal information that's being volunteered on the internet.
take 5 solutions, a data broker in boca raton, florida, runs 17 web sites like goodparentingtoday.com and t5healthyliving.com, where people can share stories about their families and health. what web visitors don't realize is that take 5's real business is collecting and selling the information. there's all sorts of people coming on now. >> ashkan soltani: that's right. >> kroft: and there is also an invisible side to the internet that most people have never seen. when you are online visiting web sites, you may think you're alone. but you are not, as digital privacy expert ashkan soltani showed us using a software program called "disconnect," which was created by a former google engineer. what's this stuff? >> soltani: so, when you visit the "new york times" homepage, there's a number of companies on the page that are essentially tracking your visits. >> kroft: when we clicked on newyorktimes.com, the software revealed the presence of more than a dozen third parties that the web site had allowed in to
observe our movements. >> soltani: these are all companies that either place ads or measure people's behaviors on that site. >> kroft: so as you are going through the web and doing your searching, you've got a whole crowd following you? >> soltani: that's right. >> kroft: there were ad networks and marketing and analytics companies measuring traffic and page views and cataloguing our interests. and some of this information, you think, is going to data brokers? >> soltani: oh, definitely. >> kroft: wow, look at that. we found the same thing going on at the "60 minutes" web site. they are everywhere. so, they're really inside your computer? >> soltani: they're inside your browser, usually, or your mobile device, yes. >> kroft: and you haven't necessarily invited them in? >> soltani: you've not invited them in. and most computers or browsers allow them in by default. >> kroft: do companies collect your web browsing history? >> soltani: yes. absolutely. yeah, this is the primary piece of data collected online. as you click through the web and view car sites or read about the news, companies-- these third parties-- will collect your click stream, as you click from site to site to site, to see what you may be reading, what you may be interested in, what
types of things you might buy. >> kroft: and almost all of it is for sale, especially any personal information that you might volunteer. the more companies know about us, they say, the more efficient they can make the advertising. you are looking at one of the commercial pillars of the internet. soltani took us to an online dating site called "okcupid," which asks visitors for all sorts of personal information. >> soltani: are you a vegetarian or vegan? do you drink? what's your relationship with marijuana? and what people don't realize that, so, you know, here you're seeing all the third parties that are present on this site. >> kroft: so all these people are getting the information? >> soltani: they're getting some of this information. >> kroft: the web site doesn't require users to give their real name, but the i.p. address and the computer i.d. number are recorded and it's not difficult for data brokers to match that information with other online identifiers. there are firms that specialize in doing it. so you can combine this data with other data that's available and figure out who someone is? >> soltani: that's right.
has become a hot commodity. how sensitive is that information? >> brill: it's the kind of information that really talks about who you are on a day-to- day basis: where you go and who you might be visiting with, what shops you may frequent; what time you come home, what time you leave. >> kroft: commissioner brill is pushing for more oversight and transparency. she says people should be able to see the information the companies have on them, be able to challenge it if it's wrong, and opt out of the system altogether if they don't want personal data collected. >> brill: consumers don't know who the data brokers are. they don't know the names of these companies. they have no way to know, "what... well, what web site am i supposed to go to? who do i call? what letter do i write?" >> kroft: the senate commerce committee and its chairman, jay rockefeller, have proposed legislation that would do just that. the committee has been investigating the industry for more than a year, and senator rockefeller says he's being stonewalled by three of its
biggest players-- acxiom, epsilon, and experian. >> jay rockefeller: i am putting these three companies on notice today that i'm not satisfied with their responses and i'm considering further steps. >> kroft: senator rockefeller called companies like epsilon "the dark underside of american life." >> bryan kennedy: yeah, that's an interesting phrase, and one that i would take offense at. >> kroft: bryan kenedy is chairman and c.e.o. of epsilon, which claims to have "the world's largest cooperative database," including more than eight billion consumer transactions, combined with an extensive network of online sources. he doesn't like the term "data broker," and says epsilon is a marketing firm that uses data. can i go on your web site and see everything you have about me? >> kennedy: you can go on our web site today, and we offer a method by which we can show you the kind of information that we have about you. >> kroft: the kind of information. >> kennedy: right. >> kroft: not all the information.
>> kennedy: what we've done is we've collected the data into categories, into the basic information that is meaningful and understandable to a consumer. >> kroft: kennedy says epsilon has provided the senate commerce committee with binders full of information. he calls the hearings political theater. he sees no need for more oversight or regulation of one of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy. >> kennedy: if there are abuses out there, we don't believe those happen within our company. and we would be the first to raise our hand and say, if there are specific uses of data that are problematic, then the government should focus on those particular uses of data, not attempt to regulate the entire industry in a way that could cripple our economy. >> kroft: you're saying that any kind of regulation on this could cripple the economy? >> kennedy: i am. >> kroft: and this should be left to industry groups to self- enforce? >> kennedy: we think that self- regulation has been very effective. what we're hearing today is a lot of discussion in washington.
we're not hearing a lot of discussion, frankly, from consumers. it's one of the odd things. so, consumers are rushing to the internet to provide more information about themselves than, you know, we would've ever imagined. >> kroft: that surprise you? >> kennedy: it does surprise me. i... i don't do it myself. i'm a consumer, like... like you are. >> kroft: so, you think it's imprudent? >> kennedy: i think that consumers ought to understand that the internet is an advertising medium. >> kroft: this is also the position of the direct marketing association, which is one of the most powerful lobbying groups in washington. its members include google and facebook, the two companies that probably know more about us than anyone else. they were not mentioned in our story because they don't sell the information they gather about us; they keep it to themselves. >> for secrets that protect your privacy online, go to 60minutesovertime.com. sponsored by pfizer.
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as we first reported in april, you can see the impact of the disaster in the towns right around the plant, only you can't get there. the earthquake did some damage, the tsunami did more. but the reason many of them are empty and off limits today is because of the nuclear accident at the fukushima power plant next door. the whole area is now a radioactive wasteland, and the people who lived there don't know if they'll ever be able to go home; many don't know if they'll want to. three years later, the events of march 11 darkened their lives so deeply that many speak of it simply as "3/11." the hell that broke loose on march 11, 2011, was the strongest earthquake in japan's history. when the shaking stopped, a tsunami raced towards shore with as much fury as nature can
muster. almost all of the more than 18,000 people who died that day on japan's northeast coast died in the flood. the quake didn't do much damage to the fukushima daiichi nuclear power station, but the tsunami shut down the reactors' emergency cooling systems and they started to melt down. hydrogen gases inside the buildings then exploded, spreading radiation into communities more than 25 miles away. today, in the town of tomioka, the radiation levels are considered safe enough to allow people in during the day. loudspeakers warn visitors that they must leave by 3:00 p.m. we were alone on the day we were there.
the disaster seems to have stopped time. the clock shows 2:46, the moment the earthquake hit, and the damage to shops and homes looks like it could have happened yesterday. the stack of newspapers we found were dated march 12, 2011, the day after the quake and tsunami. you can see people had to leave in a hurry. that was the morning the government told people of this town and neighboring towns to get out quickly. "welcome to okuma," says the sign. population today, three years later: zero. more than 11,000 people left town that day and never returned. would you ever want to go back to okuma to live there again? >> norio kimura ( translated ): yes, i would like to before i die. >> simon: norio kimura lived with his wife and two daughters next door to his parents. the tsunami killed his father,
his wife, and his youngest daughter, yuna, a bright and cheerful seven-year-old. this is what their homes looked like before march 11, 2011. this is what's left today-- foundations, and scraps of memories that he keeps in a small box by what was once the front door. >> kimura: this is a shoe she was wearing that day, which was found in a heap of rubble six months after the disaster. >> simon: because of radiation, kimura can only visit his former home ten times a year and stay only five hours. in february, his allotted day came in the middle of a blizzard. on each visit, kimura brings flowers to a small shrine he built to honor his family. they were among the 111 people who died in okuma that day. the remains of a 110 have been recovered. the only one still missing is
norio kimura's daughter, yuna. ten times a year, he goes back home to search for her. on saturday, you were digging again in okuma. it was snowing, it was freezing. why? >> kimura: to find yuna, of course. and also if i stopped searching or gathering her things, i will lose the connection with her. to be honest, the reason why i can live my life every day is because i have to find her and her things. >> simon: volunteers now help kimura dig through the piles of debris left by the tsunami. everyone's dressed in protective clothing to limit their exposure to radiation. the digging seems futile, but on this day, kimura unearthed clothing he says belonged to his surviving daughter, mayu. on march 11, the day of the
tsunami, kimura made a mistake for which he will never forgive himself. he was at work on a farm, and he stayed there. did you think then that there would be a tsunami? >> kimura: there was a radio at my work, and my boss told me that the tsunami was going to be three meters tall. my house is five to six meters above sea level, so i was convinced that our home would be fine, and did not worry about it at all after that. >> simon: do you think there is anything you could have done to save your family? >> kimura: i should have gone home right away. even now, i say to myself, "what was i thinking?" >> simon: when radiation forced the evacuation of okuma, the town leader told norio kimura to stop searching for the missing and start caring for the living.
so he and his daughter moved here to the japanese alps, where the brisk air and the snow- capped mountains made radiation and tsunamis difficult to imagine. kimura has traded farming for a guest house he's recently opened. his daughter, mayu, talks about her mother more than her missing sister, and doesn't ask why her father continues searching for her. their new mountain home is 2,000 feet above the perils of the sea, and 180 miles from the fukushima plant. ghost towns surround the plant now, but three years later, there are still more than 4,000 workers there, all of them wearing layers of protection. because of the exposure to radiation, the men in this building are only allowed to work two and a half hours a day. they're not producing any electricity, they're just cleaning up.
were tepco workers adequately trained to handle the emergency? >> yoichi funabashi: i don't think so. >> simon: within months of the accident, yoichi funabashi, a former newspaper editor, headed an investigation into what went wrong and why. it was the only investigation not sponsored by the government, and its conclusions were brutal. >> funabashi: i was very much concerned about the government not telling the truth to the public. >> simon: the revelations in funabashi's report added to the public's anger and dismay. he wrote that, from the beginning, the government had conspired with the industry to convince people that nuclear power is safe. so the government effort at the time was to convince people that there was nothing to worry about? >> funabashi: exactly. "nothing to worry about. don't worry. okay, even don't prepare for that... the severe accident, okay."
because that would cause that unnecessary unease and unnecessary misunderstanding. >> simon: and there's no reason to prepare. >> funabashi: no reason to prepare. so this avoidance ultimately translated into unpreparedness. >> lake barrett: mother nature threw a real curve ball to the japanese with that huge tsunami. >> simon: last year, tepco hired american nuclear engineer lake barrett as an advisor. barrett directed the cleanup at the three mile island nuclear plant after its accident in 1979. it's estimated that the cleanup is going to take 30 the 40 years. to a layman, that sounds very, very long. can you explain why that's... >> lake barrett: to me, that's... that's not long at all. that... that's what i would expect for that kind of thing. it's a huge challenge. it's... it's a big onsite mess that they have to clean up, and it's going to take them decades to do it. it took us ten years to do three mile island, and the three mile island accident was much simpler than they have at fukushima. >> simon: are they where you thought they would be three years later?
>> barrett: i'd hoped they'd be further along. it's been challenging, technically, it's been challenging culturally and politically for them. but they're making good progress now. >> simon: sounds like you're being a little diplomatic. >> barrett: well, the decision making process in japan is... is complicated. >> simon: decision making in japan requires consensus, and reaching consensus often takes a very long time. the most difficult job will be to dismantle the melted reactors, but radiation is too high for workers to get there. for now, tepco is inundated with groundwater that leaks into the reactors and gets contaminated. every day, 100,000 gallons of radioactive water has to be pumped out before it reaches the ocean. tepco is filling storage tanks almost as fast as it can build them, and they're notorious for leaking. another enormous clean-up is happening outside the plant.
entire communities are being cleared of contaminated materials that will have to be stored for generations. this part of japan is known for its agriculture, but the only crop growing now is the multitude of black bags holding the radioactive waste, filling the empty spaces in towns like okuma. now, some of the kids from okuma live and go to school 70 miles away. how many of you would like to go back to okuma? everybody. how many of you think you will go back to okuma? what's keeping you from going back to okuma now? you can tell me. >> ( translated ): because there's a lot of radiation, there's a lot of radioactive material there. >> simon: these kids will be middle-aged before the cleanup is finished. their homes could have been rebuilt quickly if it had just
been an earthquake and a tsunami. it's the manmade disaster which will take decades to repair. this is the class that norio kimura's daughter, yuna, would have been in if she were alive. her friend kurea remembers they ate lunch together. where is she now? >> kurea ( translated ): in okuma. she's lonely, being alone in the town of okuma all this time. i think she must be lonely. >> simon: about a third of the residents from okuma decided to stick together and moved into what the government called "temporary housing." "temporary" is lasting a long time. the three generations of kimuras that once lived together are now split apart. norio and his daughter live in nagano, five hours away from his mother, tomoe. she lives in the temporary housing, alone in a cold and cramped room furnished with photographs.
the kimuras, like many japanese, have a strong connection to their dead and feel obliged to help them be at peace. as long as the dead are in limbo, so are the living. you've lost so much of your family, why aren't you together with your son now? >> tomoe kimura ( translated ): i'm with my husband's ashes now. once i find a proper place to put him, i'd like to go to nagano. >> simon: what do you think the right place will be? >> tomoe kimura: our family cemetery in okuma is contaminated with radiation now. i could come back two or three times a year to burn incense for him, but my grandchild would not be able to come. i don't want to keep him where his grandchild, whom he used to adore so much, can't even come to visit. >> simon: ten times a year,
norio kimura visits his ancestors in the family cemetery, a place where he thought he would be laid to rest one day and where his children would come to visit him. but he won't find any peace, he says, until after he finds yuna. do you think there's any chance you'll ever find your daughter? >> norio kimura: i know that the chance is very slim, but no matter how slim the chance is, i still cannot stop. from the outside looking in, i know that this is very unlikely. but i still can't stop, even if i cannot ever find her. >> welcome to the cbs update. first leg of the fedex,
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>> pelley: we very nearly lost one of the wonders of the world. the humpback whale was efficiently slaughtered until there were only a few thousand left. but in one of the great success stories in conservation, the humpback is making a comeback. it's a good thing, too, because what we've learned about them lately makes the humpback one of the most fascinating animals ever to grace the earth. as we first reported last fall, there are many species of whales, and one by one, they're coming off the endangered species list. whale hunting is rare today, but there is still a place on the high seas where there's a battle to eliminate the last vestiges of whaling. there, we found a man who has
risked life and limb to end any threat to whales once and for all. you're watching the ramming of a japanese whaling ship by a combative conservation group led by american paul watson. he's trying to stop the transfer of a minke whale the japanese just killed to the factory ship that will cut it up. commercial whaling is banned by international agreements, but the japanese and a few others are still launching harpoons. these scenes were shot for the animal planet series "whale wars." and these scenes were shot by the whalers themselves, who say this is evidence that watson is nothing more than a pirate. the japanese obtained an international arrest warrant for him. so, for the last year, this
conservationist, or pirate, has lived on the world's oceans, unable to set foot on land. we are headed out to international waters where watson lives on a ship beyond the reach of the law. but before he would meet with us, we had to agree that we wouldn't say where we are, or even what ocean this is. suffice to say it involved several airplanes and many thousands of miles. towards the end of that journey, watson sent this trimaran to pick us up. this boat once set the speed record for circumnavigating the earth. he named it for an actress who is a supporter, but to us, it looked more darth vader than brigitte bardot. watson came to the "bardot" from a floating hideout that we agreed not to show. he is one of the founders of greenpeace. and now, at the age of 62, he calls his new armada sea shepherd.
>> paul watson: the simple fact is this: if the oceans die, we die. sea shepherd was set up to uphold those international laws and regulations protecting our oceans. >> pelley: but why is that your job? countries enforce laws. why are you doing this? >> watson: i just do not see the political will on the part of these governments to do anything. >> pelley: but that makes you a vigilante. you're deciding on your own that you're going to enforce these laws. what gives you the right? >> watson: because i want to survive. and i want to make sure that my children survive. and i'm not going to sit back and watch the oceans be destroyed because governments don't have the political or economic will to uphold these laws. >> pelley: the whaling ban makes an exception for research. and the japanese proclaim that exception in tall letters on their ships. they set their own quotas--about 900 minkes, 50 fin whales and 50 humpbacks. these are minkes. and even though the japanese reserve the right to kill humpbacks, they haven't, according to the international
whaling commission. >> watson: there is no scientific basis for what they're doing. we have seen them take a whale onto the factory vessel. there's no scientist there. there's nobody measuring anything. they simply cut them up, send them down below, and package them. so, this is not science. this is bogus. >> pelley: the international court of justice in the hague will be deciding whether japan's whaling is really for research or should be stopped. but while the whaling continues, sea shepherd fouls the japanese plan with rope to catch their propellers. the japanese fire back with water, and ear-splitting sirens. sea shepherd throws stink bombs. the japanese return concussion grenades. you called sea shepherd, which you founded, the most aggressive, no-nonsense conservation organization in the world. and you said, "i don't believe in protests. that is far too submissive." what do you mean? >> watson: well, protesting is
sort of like, "please, please, please, don't do that." but they'll do it anyway. but they just ignore you. so, protest is submissive. we're not a protest organization. we're an interventionist organization. we intervene against illegal activities. >> pelley: but this is what happened recently when sea shepherd tried to intervene. the whaler kept coming and sheared the bow off watson's $2 million boat, which eventually sank. no one was seriously hurt. watson claims he has cut the japanese catch because of these tactics, the same tactics that the japanese say are illegal. you're in sort of a prison, aren't you? >> watson: well, it's a pretty nice prison. it's... you know, i... i don't mind being on the ocean. it's a beautiful place, and certainly the citizens out here tend to be more peaceful. >> pelley: but when people call your tactics violent, how do you respond to that? i mean, you look as this footage-- it looks violent. it's hostile. >> watson: the japanese are committing violence against living whales.
we are not hurting anybody, so we're not violent. >> pelley: this battle is fought in the last place where humpback whales are considered endangered by the international agency that decides these things. these south pacific humpbacks feed here in the antarctic summer, then journey north 4,000 miles to mate. this is where much of the research is done, around a speck on the map called rarotonga. this volcanic island, part of the cook islands, is just 21 miles around with 10,000 residents and not a single traffic light. here, we found the human who may know humpbacks best. >> nan hauser: he's right behind the boat. hello, beautiful.
he's putting on quite a lovely show for us, and you just have to be careful and respect their space. >> pelley: they take up a lot of space. nan hauser is an american marine biologist who intended to come to rarotonga for one month of research, but that was 16 years ago. now, her home and her lab are on the side of the volcano, and she spends her days eye to eye with her subjects. >> hauser: as you watch them, as you see these massive animals and look at them in the eye, and they're looking at you, and they've never seen what a human looks like before. and so they're curious about you, and you're curious about them. >> pelley: humpbacks are acrobats. their fins are like wings up to 20 feet long. they cooperate with each other to hunt for the krill and small fish they eat by the tons. we've learned a lot about them in recent years, and some of
what we know is because nan hauser risked her life to discover it. she's part of an international mission to harpoon humpbacks with small satellite transmitters. that rubber boat feels tiny next to an animal 50 feet long that weighs 79,000 pounds. >> hauser: it's very, very dangerous. all they have to do is pick up their tail and give you a good whack, and all your bones are broken and your organs are ruptured. so it's very scary. very, very scary. my heart is pounding. >> pelley: when they surface to breathe, the transmitter stuck in their blubber sends a signal. now, we know that humpbacks can travel 10,000 miles a year-- that's the world record for a mammal. 80% of their lives are spent submerged.
and this is where nan hauser has made some of her most beautiful discoveries. >> hauser: here, we see a male standing on his head, upside down, singing a song. they are motionless and the song bellows out. >> pelley: the humpback song can be 20 minutes long, and they repeat the same song again and again. males in one region will all sing the same song the same way. but next year, they'll return with a new composition. so, this is air somehow moving around inside their heads that's making this sound, even though they don't have vocal cords? >> hauser: correct. it's almost, i think, like taking a balloon full of air and going.... >> pelley: the sound carries for miles. and hauser believes, it's all to mark their territory.
>> hauser: they take turns singing, perhaps to say, "my lungs are bigger. i can hold my breath longer. i can sing a more beautiful song. i'm the dominant male. i'm going to sing here so you move away and sing somewhere else. >> pelley: can you do some of the sounds that you've heard? >> hauser: i think the most common whale sound is kind of a... but we get everything. we've even had the laughing monkey-- "ee, ee, ee, ee." creaking doors. >> pelley: what are they saying? >> hauser: we don't know. >> pelley: so you speak whale, but you don't understand it. >> hauser: absolutely. ( laughs ) >> pelley: but she does understand a calf's jaw-clapping anger. hauser captured it when a mother went off to mate and left this calf behind.
>> hauser: he does a small clap right here. >> pelley: what does it mean? >> hauser: now, i know it means, "i'm upset and i'm going to have a little bit of a temper tantrum." you can see him. hear him? >> pelley: he's saying, "pay attention to me." >> hauser: exactly. >> pelley: humpbacks give birth to one calf a year. so their comeback has been slow but steady. before the whaling ban, there were maybe 5,000 left in the world. but now, it's estimated there are 80,000. the biggest threats to them these days are collisions with ships, and the kind of miles- long fishing line that wrapped up this whale. >> hauser: they get wrapped up, and then they get held underwater and they need to come up for air. otherwise, they suffer and they drown. >> pelley: hauser hopes that the satellite tags will mark migration routes so that man can steer clear. history may show that we stopped the global slaughter just in the nick of time.
humpbacks are now found in every ocean. their numbers back to about 30% of what they had been before whaling. it's a sign that a fascinating and beautiful part of the planet is on the mend. since we first broadcast our story, the international court of justice banned japan's whaling off antarctica. the court ruled that the whale kill had little scientific value. environmentalist paul watson is no longer hiding at sea. the international arrest warrant is still active, but last fall, the u.s. government allowed him to return to defend himself and his organization in court. i'm j-a-n-e and i have copd. i'm d-a-v-e and i have copd. i'm k-a-t-e and i have copd,
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