This is such sheer, self-dramatizing humbug I can’t think why anybody pretends to believe it. At worst, your telephone “metadata” and mine are stored in a huge NSA database, where it will be purged after five years unless you start dialing 1-900-HotVirgins in Yemen -- at which point the FBI might seek a search warrant to check you out.
That sensor in your pocket tracking your whereabouts 24/7? It’s the GPS function in your cellphone. You want to hide from the government (or your wife)? Shut it off or hang it from the dog’s collar.
“I don’t know what he’s up to, Sergeant, but he’s still under the front porch.”
For that matter Amazon and Citicard know a lot more about me personally than the NSA, using information I’ve willingly given them. So do Verizon, Facebook and my bank. But nobody makes me read on a Kindle or pay for things with a credit card. As long as the data exists, it can theoretically be abused.
NSA would be a rare bureaucracy if it didn’t overstep its bounds. However, until I see genuine victims of government abuse, I’ll keep thinking the Snowden affair has become the left’s equivalent of the Benghazi delusion: much ado about terrible crimes that haven’t actually happened.
(Arkansas Times columnist Gene Lyons is a National Magazine Award winner and co-author of “The Hunting of the President” (St. Martin’s Press, 2000). You can email Lyons at firstname.lastname@example.org.)