Documents provided by leaker-turned-fugitive Edward Snowden suggest that the National Security Agency has gathered personal contact lists from email and instant messaging accounts around the globe, including many belonging to Americans.
Trolling through millions of lists for terror plots and conspiracies, the U.S. spy agency evidently doesn’t make distinctions between home and abroad. It’s a reminder that a person’s online accounts aren’t hermetically sealed.
Obviously, very few Americans are involved in terrorism. But no one should have an expectation of privacy on the Internet while the threat remains. The Washington Post reports that on a typical day last year, the NSA collected more than 440,000 email address books.
Americans were traumatized 12 years ago by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As the NSA programs demonstrate, the country has compromised on its most precious values and beliefs out of fear.
Does this snooping in the name of security make any sense? How many freedoms are Americans willing to give up?
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