Re: Snooping on foreigners
It's not that there's nothing "there to stop the NSA snooping on Britons, GCHQ snooping on Americans and both of them swapping data willy-nilly", it's that they have an active agreement to do EXACTLY THAT.
In case you missed it (and it seems you did), the publicly-known name for that tidy little arrangement is 'Five Eyes' and it includes my own morally-bankrupt government (AU) along with that of the USA, UK, Canada and New Zealand.
That is one reason why there is so much outrage and a large part of why every word coming out of the mouths of these fucking serpents is treated with such open distrust by all the right-thinking people in those countries. Even when they are telling the truth about technicalities, they are lying about the REAL questions.
To the people actually subject to these abhorrent breaches of personal liberty, 'spying' isn't limited to just the act of collecting the data. So far as I, and a great number of others, are concerned, if you are reading through my e-mails and texts you are spying on me. I care about who captured the data but I care more about who is READING it.
To take it to a childish level, when I was young, sometimes I would swipe my sister's diary on behalf of my brother (peer pressure and all that), whereupon he would read it. Any 10 year old girl will be able to tell you what our governments seem not to accept - it doesn't matter who took it: if you are reading your little sister's diary, you are spying on her. I can vouch that my mother saw it much the same way as both me and my brother were punished equally.
Actually, the metaphor plays out nicely, what with the 'big brother' and all. I suppose what our governments need is someone to break a wooden spoon across their behinds and stop them seeing their friends. That, or what my sister did, which was to break our GI-Joe figures. (Did you ever have that one who was supposed to have a flame-thrower but instead came with this weird catapult that flung out a lumpy orange ball? No? Okay; just me then. I thought it was odd.)