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Have people’s relationships with their phones changed qualitatively since 1979?

This was a central claim in the highly significant ruling made by Federal District Court in Washington DC:

In a 68-page ruling, Judge Leon said the N.S.A. program that systematically gathers records of Americans’ phone calls was most likely unconstitutional, rejecting the Obama administration’s argument that a 1979 case, Smith v. Maryland, was a controlling precedent. “People have an entirely different relationship with phones than they did 34 years ago,” he wrote.

What is the evidence? Our research indicates people have emotional relationships with their handsets. But can this be extended to the transaction-generated data as well? What can social science say? Are the answers different in different countries/cultures?

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