Familiar Swing to Security Over Privacy After Attacks in France

For two years after the revelations by Edward J. Snowden, Europe was awash in talk about American excesses in mass surveillance, objecting to how the National Security Agency swept up emails and phone conversations — even of political leaders like Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany — in an American electronic net that seemed to envelop the Continent.But the past few months have helped clarify what much of Europe really objected to: the American involvement in that surveillance, not the net itself. Worried about Islamic extremists in its midst, Britain passed even more sweeping surveillance laws last summer. And in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris in January, the French have begun what has become almost a rite of passage for Western nations since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, voting through the lower house of Parliament on Tuesday vastly expanded government powers to protect, and spy on, its own citizens.

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