Phone surveillance arouses libertarian passions in the US

Outrage over the US government’s broad harvest of communications data is like antioil rhetoric from activists who drive sport-utility vehicles. Suddenly, America teems with libertarians because a UK newspaper reported that the National Security Agency monitors telephone, e-mail, and internet traffic more aggressively than most people knew. Yet many outraged Americans eagerly publish personal information via social media and approve tracking of their financial lives by credit-reporting agencies. Can privacy really be that important to those folks? Granted: Facebook postings and submission to credit scoring are voluntary; governmental surveillance of communication records is not. NSA, howev...

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