The debate over whether the government can access your phone is here. Hello!

On this week’s episode of Note to Self, you’ll hear from Russell Banks, Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and author of “The Sweet Hereafter,” “Affliction,” and “Cloudsplitter.” Banks was one of several prolific writers, including Gay Talese and Sandra Cisneros, who signed a letter last month calling for the FBI to stand down in their attempt to hack Apple.

But why are authors so invested in the surveillance debate? Banks explains that when it comes to researching a taboo topic or writing about a sensitive matter, writers don’t want to self-censor just because the government may be watching (or even flagging) language and/or behavior. And this is no small matter for the nonfiction and fiction scribes of the world. The advocacy group PEN found that 75 percent of writers living in democracies are concerned about their privacy.

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