German privacy scandal

I’ve noticed in several news sources over the past few days that there is a scandal brewing (or perhaps already erupting) in Germany about its intelligence service cooperating with the American NSA, by handing over of vast sums of text and voice communication data. Something I think I’ve read in every non-German article about this scandal so far is that the Germans are really sensitive when it comes to privacy because of the Stasi (former DDR secret police) and the Gestapo (former Nazi-era secret police) presence in their history.

What I find myself asking is why a desire for privacy is something that journalists feel like they have to qualify in the first place? Why not say, “The Germans are upset about possible violations of privacy and a potential breach in the trust they have placed in their government because they are human beings who feel like they should be able to enjoy a sense of privacy in their lives, without the unchecked / unimpeded intrusion of a government (or, as it may turn out, governments) that they do not fully trust?” Why should the desire for privacy be something peculiar to any particular group of people?

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