[Zoi Leoudaki]: The recent revelation of a secret program monitoring telephone conversations in the USA raises questions about the limits of personal privacy and state intervention. Experts say that the Department of Justice crossed the permissible boundaries when it secretly obtained telephone conversation records of Associated Press journalists regarding an Al-Qaeda investigation in Yemen. Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, believes that this action by the American government constitutes an abuse of power. [Frank Sesno]: They monitored the telephone conversations of about 24 journalists for two months. This action constitutes a significant intrusion into the work of journalists on the fact that they need to protect their sources and the flow of information in a free and open society. [Zoi Leoudaki]: Sesno argues that it’s important for journalists to recognize the balance that must exist between the citizens’ right to be informed about their government’s actions, but also the responsibility of the state mechanism to protect information for the security of its citizens. However, there are limits. [Frank Sesno]: Things become very dangerous if the government turns around and tells journalists it’s a criminal offense to search for this information. It’s criminal because the pursuit of truth should not be considered a crime. [Zoi Leoudaki]: Technology has changed the individual’s relationship with power, influencing not only the journalists’ ability to protect those who provide them information but also those who spy on them. Pilikovats is a former journalist and editor-in-chief of the New York Times. [Pilikovats]: New technologies are mostly to blame for the crisis. If we want America and the constitution to continue their function in the 21st century, the burden falls on us. We must decide how freedom in communications affects the relationship between federal, local, and state entities in law enforcement. [Zoi Leoudaki]: A recent Pew Research and the Washington Post survey found that 56% of Americans believe that the National Security Agency’s program of phone conversations is an acceptable way for the government to investigate terrorism cases. President Obama states that he welcomes the dialogue to find a balance between human rights and surveillance. But he emphasized that he would do whatever it can to keep the United States safe. [Pilikovats]: America is now faced with an undefined enemy that for most people remains unknown. With the technology we have in our hands, the challenges facing the president and the Attorney General are unprecedented. It is necessary to educate the public, to start a dialogue with journalists and the American people to talk about this struggle and how we can move forward from here. [Zoi Leoudaki]: So, what is the relationship between state security and personal privacy, and what are the permissible limits? Over the next few years, we will see how this dialogue evolves. Zoi Leoudaki, VOA, Washington.