Friedman and Keller of the Times have both come out supporting the NSA collection of information. Remember, these same guys heavily supported the invasion of Iraq. Their paper reflected that point of view. Suspiciously, the Times was not one of the ones to run the leaks that Snowden provided. Maybe they weren’t offered the material, or maybe they were but refused to protect the source…or maybe they turned it down, worried about potential repercussions from the NSA and other agencies.
I don’t see Americans getting too upset about this government hoovering of their private information—not yet. Part of that laissez faire attitude might stem from the fact that those who use social media are already used to giving up much of their privacy. They tend to feel it’s a fair tradeoff for the convenience and connections that are provided in return. But hey, just because you have nothing to hide doesn’t mean someone can’t use you and your information. They do—all the time—and big corporations make lots of money from the information they collect. They don’t share that income with you and me—the providers of the information. It’s “free.”
It might take an abuse somewhere down the line to awaken the general public to the reason this kind of activity is not compatible with a democracy. Inevitably, anyone or any agency possessing that much information about its citizens will be tempted by the power that that information provides. Power corrupts, inevitably and surely, and secret power corrupts faster than any other kind. We have no legal assurances that this abuse won’t happen—just vague promises. So, in my opinion, it is just a matter of time before some agency, politician or rogue ideologue finds some nefarious use for all that data. The NSA is a breeding ground for things that will be scary, disruptive and possibly deadly to our society. Gee, that sounds like terrorism.