Is it reasonable to want the state to stay out of your life, assuming you’re not breaking the law? Yes, of course – that’s a normal desire. Is it reasonable to expect to have the internet, and for the state not to perform online surveillance on a massive scale? No. That’s an unrealistic expectation.
I have been trying very hard to process not just the deluge of docementation released by the scoundrel1 Edwoard Snowden but the implications on broader society. I’m glad I’m not the only one wrestling with our current state of affairs.
The conflict arises from the desire to be protected by our government and also protected from our government. Striking this balance, particularly in the Internet2 age, is not easy. I fall down on the side of tolerating more goverment surveilance if it can prevent people from crashing planes into buildings. I understand the slippery slope this can create, but today I believe it to be worth the risk.
If we one day find ourselves in a world where women or men in black suits and dark sunglasses come visit our home after searching for “pressure cooker bombs”, then we should break out the pitchforks and torches to keep our goverment in check. Until then, I’m ok with the NSA reading my email.