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First Amendment column: Petraeus affair reveals privacy's limits

9:53 PM, Nov. 27, 2012
Gen. David Petraeus, left, shakes hands with Paula Broadwell, co-author of his biography
Gen. David Petraeus, left, shakes hands with Paula Broadwell, co-author of his biography "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus," in July 2011.
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National attention to the Petraeus affair is driven by everything from morbid curiosity to concern for national security. But for most of us, issues of privacy and the First Amendment also should take center stage.

As shown by the FBI's relatively quick trip through the online missives of Gen. David Petraeus' trysts, not much - if any - of our electronic communication is genuinely "private," not even for the director of the world's largest spy agency.

No matter what assumptions, promises or email ploys we might rely on, the one safe approach today is to assume every Internet search, each ...

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