I continue to be impressed at the number of good arguments on both sides of this issue. That it makes people as uncomfortable as it does indicates to me a gulf between the government’s credibility over the last decade and the value of its efforts. I think we like to imagine government agents like in the movies, where they can pull together all sorts of data onto cool-looking screens and then find the bad guys. But while we’re imagining the agents in that movie, we’re also imagining dystopian movies based on a premise requiring the government to have access to the exact same amount of data.
Basically, I think we need to be shown that the government understands these concerns, and that it’s installing reasonable checks and balances accordingly. It’s right-wise, even-to mistrust the government. Hopefully the phone data and PRISM stories will let us take a look at how many rights we’ve ceded and come up with a reasonable middle ground.