Owen Blacker Over the past several months, the Obama Administration has defended the government’s far-reaching data collection efforts, arguing that only criminals and terrorists need worry.

The nation’s leading Internet and telecommunications companies have said they are committed to the sanctity of their customers’ privacy. I have some very personal reasons to doubt those assurances. In 2004, my telephone records, as well as those of another New York Times reporter and two reporters from the Washington Post, were obtained by federal agents assigned to investigate a leak of classified information. What happened next says a lot about what happens when the government’s privacy protections collide with the day-to-day realities of global surveillance. 2

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