I have a friend who mentioned a few months ago that he does not use any of the major email companies (google, yahoo, hotmail…) because he does not trust them. Well it seems like he was ahead of the curve on that one. From now on we can simply assume that anything on the internet is not private or secure. This has a profound impact on the growing use the cloud as a mass data storage medium. If people and corporations think thru what all of this means, they will come to the conclusion that no sensitive information should ever be stored in the cloud. And that is a major impediment for individuals and companies to just hand over their content to the cloud where the government can in secret look and copy anything that it wants, and use that info for any reason that they want. This is a case where bad government hinders progress and economic development.
The argument is often made that it is better to put up with endlessly encroaching and invasive security measures, because such intrusions are better than being blown up. I see that this is a false dichotomy. Just because we do not give into having our basic liberties violated does not mean that we are all going to die. Even if there were no airplane security the chances of dying in a terrorist attack would be extremely small. Certainly much much smaller than getting into a car accident and we still drive. I would take that risk over the nonsense with the TSA that we have now. No security does not equal certain death. It means that the extremely small chance became a bit less extreme. And I am not saying that we should not have any security at airports, but we need a balance between security measures and not having to live under a tyranny. I prefer the old pre 9/11 airport security system. And I am not saying that the government cannot snoop when it has probable cause and a search warrant. What I am opposed to is unlimited snooping in the vain hope that this will keep us safe. Remember that the Boston bombing occurred when the PRISM program was fully in place, and look how well it worked to keep us safe. It did not work. 9/11 occurred under the nose of the biggest and most well funded intelligence complex in the world. It did not prevent the attacks. Even the supposed foiled terrorist plots, were mostly created by the FBI so that they could crow about having stopped a “terrorist” attack that would never have been attempted without the governments considerable encouragement and support.
I also don´t understand some of the hate directed by certain people at Snowden. To me the man is a hero. He is a brave whistleblower motivated by love of country, not a traitor. We need more people like Snowden. The world would be a better place. Unfortunately the Obama administration has a vindictive streak, and they want to hunt him down and punish Snowden for having caught them with their pants down. They are trying to make this about Snowden, instead of about spying on the American people and lying about it, which is the real issue.