Question of the Week

How much privacy would you willingly sacrifice in the name of national security?


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Outrage has been widespread and lawsuits have been filed since former CIA employee Edward Snowden exposed the the National Security Agency’s secret U.S. collection of cellphone data from Verizon subscribers.

Some lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have declared the program lawful under the Patriot Act and have asserted that it has stopped at least one terrorist attack.

But the American Civil Liberties Union—a Verizon business network customer—cited concerns in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that the data collection might make whistleblowers hesitate to call its organization.

“The practice is akin to snatching every American’s address book—with annotations detailing whom we spoke to, when we talked, for how long, and from where,” the ACLU said in its lawsuit. “It gives the government a comprehensive record of our associations and public movements, revealing a wealth of detail about our familial, political, professional, religious, and intimate associations.”

So this week, we’d like to ask you to revamp the National Security Agency. How much privacy would you willingly sacrifice in the name of national security? Are you already giving up more than you would like? Do you feel assured that the privacy sacrifices you have been making—via this data collection program, at the airport, etc.—have helped keep U.S. citizens safe? Do you agree with the assessment that this program is lawful under the Patriot Act? Do you think Snowden should be charged?

Answer in the comments.

Read the answers to last week’s question: Did you take a bar exam prep course? If so, did you take out a loan to finance it? Any regrets?

Featured answer:

Posted by Anne: “I took the bar review course in 1974—BEFORE I went to law school—to see whether I would like law school. I understood everything except collateral estoppel, which is still kind of mysterious to me, and it was kind of amusing to see everyone around me sweating bullets and cramming for the exam. Of course I took a course again after graduation, to sweat and prepare for the exam myself.”

Do you have an idea for a future question of the week? If so, contact us.

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