How Much Government Surveillance Will Americans Accept?

The expiration of key provisions of the U.S. Patriot Act—and the passage of the USA Freedom Act—has renewed interest in the trade-offs between civil liberties and security. To what extent are American citizens willing to concede their civil liberties to the government in order to feel safe and secure from terrorism?


With the controversies surrounding domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA), the spotlight has been on the Patriot Act’s challenge to the rights enshrined in the Fourth Amendment—protection from unreasonable searches and seizures.


Arguments for and against the wiretapping provisions focus on two important, and seemingly opposing, principles: defending the nation against terrorism and protecting the privacy rights of individual citizens.


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