Re: @tom dial
You don't seem to get it. Any situation in which our metadata is being collected in a dragnet fashion is unacceptable. It doesn't matter if it's the FBI, GCHQ, the NSA, the RCMP or the fucking IRS. If you want to investigate a person then you get a fucking warrant for that person and that's that.
You do not trawl through data looking for "suspicious patterns" and use that as justification to trawl through the data! You do not keep a lifetime's worth of metadata (or even a year's worth!) and go back in time to peer through someone's life and find every minor mistake they ever made based on some broken suspicion that a cranky neighbor had that might be leaving our more than the maximum number of bags of garbage.
You keep talking as though it is okay for us to give up our rights. That it is inevitable and that it is an acceptable and natural consequence of...what, exactly? Protection from the boogyman?
Whether the breach today is the FBI or tomorrow the IRS it makes no nevermind. Human beings in positions of power over other human beings abuse that power. It doesn't matter which agency they belong to. The more power you give them to peer into our lives the more harm they will do. The totality of human history is a fucking testament to this fact!
Noone can be trusted with the kind of power represented by unfettered access to our metadata, let alone the communications data in full. Noone.
Any use of technological assets to collect information about an individual must be narrowly targeted, only records relevant to the narrow warrant collected and retained and the entire process carefully reviewed by independent civil rights organisations. (Rotated out so as to prevent regulatory capture.)
The NSA has already been seen to give information to the DEA and then tell them to lie about the source. How long before their databases are used to raid journalists, a practice already underway? You argue that agencies are isolated and that evidence of malfeasance in one isn't evidence that it will occur in another.
I say that the totality of human history says that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and given that the US government in general has thrown out the presumption of innocence as regards proles I think the NSA - and any other TLA - need to prove their innocence. After all, we don't have the means to investigate their guilt. It's all hush-hush tip-top super secret stuff that proles aren't allowed to see.
No TLA cna be trusted with our privacy. No amount of bureaucracy can make dragnets okay. Nothing can justify dragnets. is that clear enough? Or are there more predictable bits of apologist newsspeak you'd like to trot out?