Privacy in an Age of Publicity

In 1844, the British Post Office opened personal mail addressed to a foreign national who was living in England. When the report of the interception became public, the New-York Tribune condemned the opening of mail as “a barbarian breach of honor and decency.” Today, the U.S. and other governments routinely open and read the personal email of citizens and non-citizens alike, even those living in other countries. Isn’t this still a “barbarian breach of honor and decency?”

Jill Lepore examines the privacy issues in an article in The New Yorker at

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