Why a US government watchdog says your phone calls are private, but your e-mails are not

Last night, an independent oversight panel defended the NSA’s practice of collecting e-mails and other electronic communications between Americans and foreigners. In a 191-page report, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board said that although the controversial PRISM program (among others) could be unconstitutional, it was mostly fine.Privacy advocates have been quick to criticize the report. Here’s why they’re so upset, and it’s not just because the PCLOB sided with the government: The oversight board apparently thinks collecting call records is out-of-bounds, but somehow sifting through the actual content of your e-mails and Skype calls is A-OK.

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