Poll: Voters Draw Line Between Public And Private Civil Liberties

By Frannie Carr

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Sept. 7, 2011

BOSTON — Ten years after the 9/11 attacks, a new poll suggests that the line between pursuing terrorism and preserving civil liberties is not a straight one.

The Associated Press NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds Americans are okay with things like surveillance cameras in public places -- but  that intrusions into personal lives like email and phone calls are a different matter.

Senator Scott Brown, who is a member of the Senate Homeland Security committee, says lawmakers are faced with the ongoing challenge of balancing people’s freedoms and warding off potential attacks.

"It’s something I think we need to always talk about top make sure we’re not losing those individual rights and liberties while also protecting our citizenry from potentially what’s next," Brown said.

There have been recent efforts in Congress — unsuccessful so far — to require the Justice Department to estimate how many people in the U.S. have had their calls and email monitored under a 2008 law that gave the government more surveillance authority. 

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