Open curtains and a careless attitude. The Dutch are described as holding an indifferent stance towards privacy in the aftermath of Snowden’s revelations of far-reaching government surveillance. But are Dutch reactions as aloof as often claimed? This study provides an in-depth overview of privacy attitudes in the Dutch debate about the National Security Agency (NSA) leaks, showing a greater variety of sentiments than anticipated. A qualitative frame analysis and a quantitative descriptive analysis resulted in six frames, which convey distinct privacy attitudes. Online and offline as well as professional and non-journalistic content in the debate displays a different distribution of frames. The frames, ranging from an “End justifies the means” attitude to an anxious fear of an “Orwellian dystopia”, are placed in a larger framework as the research demonstrates the connection to existing theories about privacy and surveillance. Dutch discussions about the NSA revelations often display a trade-off narrative balancing safety against privacy, and include (de)legitimisation strategies. These outcomes are in line with previous studies about mediated surveillance debates, which indicates that privacy attitudes transcend national boundaries. However, the inclusion of user-generated content adds an individual dimension to the existing body of research and reveals a personal perspective on surveillance issues.

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Digital Journalism
Department of Media and Communication

Mols, A., & Janssen, S. (2017). Not interesting enough to be followed by the NSA: An analysis of Dutch privacy attitudes. Digital Journalism, 5(3), 277–298. doi:10.1080/21670811.2016.1234938