Should anyone come forward in support of PRISM
Well this may surprise many of you but i'm not terribly troubled by the abstract *concept* of government scanning phone call "metadata" or website traffic patterns, etc. Just as i don't get too concerned about the increased use of security cameras.
It's something i've (along with many people) long assumed they do (along with logging every actual piece of content that they can do without court approval, like irc conversations, forum posts, etc.), so there's nothing here being exposed that i didn't already assume they do and much worse.
I do agree that this kind of thing can have a stifling effect, I just put it low on my list of concerns about the world -- at least in the ABSTRACT.
However, I do have some outrage about this stuff -- but it's not about the abstract idea of doing this kind of thing -- it's about the culture of over-classifying all of this kind of stuff as top secret and then outright lying to the populace and hiding behind the secrecy to avoid proper oversight, supervision, and budget cost issues, when there are no operational reasons for this stuff not to be acknowledged.
If our government wants to record every phone call ever made, they need to make that case to the population, tell us how much it costs so we can assess the cost/benefits, have some very substantial oversight, and convince us that it's doing more good than harm and not being abused.
But it's just too tempting for them to classify something as top secret and then be able to hide the details, the cost, the oversight, the criticisms. And that's what I find most troubling.
I also think that it increasing leads to a kind of schizophrenic existence, where the difference between what we say we do, and what we really do, grows further and further apart -- and that can't be good.
Just my 2 cents.
For those who *are* outraged about the abstract concept of spying/tracking of citizen data -- i will say in your defense that there is a long and not-so-distant history of such surveillance systems being abused by those in power, so it's understandable if you are concerned that these abilities would be abused.