From the Times editorial board today:
"Apparently no espionage tool that Congress gives the National Security
Agency is big enough or intrusive enough to satisfy the agency’s
inexhaustible appetite for delving into the communications of Americans.
Time and again, the N.S.A. has pushed past the limits that lawmakers
thought they had imposed to prevent it from invading basic privacy, as
guaranteed by the Constitution."
The editorial goes on to claim that the NSA has repeatedly violated both the letter of the law and the dictates of the Constitution with regard to a citizen's right to privacy.
This whole unlimited snooping business is egregious. As day follows night, it will lead to abuse. Innocent citizens will be damaged, and lives ruined.
So why are the American people, and their elected representatives in Congress, unalarmed about this? One facile explanation is that in the age of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, expectations of privacy have changed. I'm not sure I buy such an explanation, given that older folks remain untethered, or even minimally affected, by social media. It seems more likely that in the absence of an immediate threat, it's harder for us to see what the spying fuss is all about. We're just not very good at recognizing real trouble (like climate change, let's say) until it's upon us. The politicians, sensing the public's complacency, are only too happy to go along.