Best Argument: No
Audience Favored: Yes (72%)
We're getting there.
David Gewirtz: In George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, a man named Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth. His job is to rewrite history according to instructions from the state.
He finds himself disturbed by the actions of the state and Big Brother and plots to expose and overthrow the state.
Up to this point, you can certainly see the loose parallels to the Edward Snowden debacle. Orwell's Smith is captured, tortured, and eventually the Thought Police reprogram him to love Big Brother.
Orwell's 1949 masterpiece envisions a world that goes far beyond the NSA revelations we've been enduring these last months. Orwell envisions a world of comprehensive surveillance, of public mind control, of privileged inner circles, of cults of personality, and where individual thinking can be punished as a "thought crime."
Yeah. We're getting there. I'm not sure I should say any more. Big Brother is watching, you know.
The government just isn't that into you
Jason Perlow: Look, folks. The NSA is and always has been in the wiretapping business, and because of 9/11, business has been a boomin'. The charter of the NSA since its inception has never changed, and certainly what it does with PRISM and other programs revealed from the Snowden leaks are no different than what it has done with ECHELON and any other systems that preceded it and have come since.
NSA started with radio transmissions and analog telephone signals, and as the world went digital, it wiretapped the Internet. Programs such as PRISM extend that wiretapping to not just the traffic moving across the "pipes," but now directly into the databases of the providers hosting the most widely-used applications and services in the Cloud. And the NSA has the legal means via FISC to retrieve what it does not do or cannot do electronically.
But should you be worried as a private citizen, or even as an enterprise about such things? Has our government gone all Stasi on us? Should we watch where we step, and beware of unintended thoughtcrime, so to speak?
I hate to break it to you guys, but the government just isn't that into you.
The only people who should be concerned about surveillance are those that become "blips on the radar" through activities that legitimately threaten our national security. While there's no question there are NSA supercomputers churning through your private emails and social media activities, the bottom line is that the vast majority of us are simply just chaff in the harvest in terms of intelligence value to our government.