Privacy vs security debate splits America

  • AP, Washington
  • |
  • Updated: Aug 13, 2013 23:40 IST

Americans are becoming increasingly concerned about government invasion of privacy while investigating terrorism, and some ordinary citizens are finding ways to push back.

They are signing online petitions and threatening lawsuits. The question is whether these anti-surveillance voters will be successful in creating a broader populist movement.

And unlike the anti-war effort that rallied Democrats during President George W Bush’s administration, and the tea party movement that galvanized conservatives in President Barack Obama’s first term, government surveillance opponents tend to straddle party lines.

The cause appeals to libertarian Republicans who don’t like big government and progressive liberals who do but favor civil liberties.

Together, these voters would have little in common otherwise. Another complication is the potential of another terrorist attack.

One spectacular act and public opinion could flip, much as it did after 9/11, back to favoring government surveillance.

Politicians know this, with many of them opting to blast the Obama administration for not being more transparent but most opposing an end to broad surveillance powers.


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