As this novel coronavirus has rapidly spread through dozens of states this past week, the daily lives of Americans have been upturned to such an extent that many people have grasped for a comparable time in history to look back to in terms of its likely impacts on society as a whole.

For many Americans, that's Sept. 11, 2001.

The comparison comes with a worrisome dark side, which privacy advocates have started to sound the alarm on.

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