Let the Debate begin.
Should the government be able to track and know who we've called, when we've called, and how long we talked?
Should the government know what websites we visit, who we email, and what we email about?
Some say "YES, Absolutely". It is critical to our safety. Others say "No Way". The government should not be spying on everyone in the Country and this doesn't help anyway.
We don't know all the details yet, and probably never will. We'll never know exactly what data is collected, how it's used, who has access, how is access tracked, etc., etc.
Therefore, since we're never going to get all the facts, I think the issue comes down to who has the "burden of proof". By that I mean:
"The burden of proof (Latin: onus probandi) is the obligation resting on a party in a trial to produce the evidence that will shift the conclusion away from the default position to one's own position."
If the Government has the "burden", as they do in criminal cases, then the default position is that this "data collection" or "spying" should not be occuring unless it is absolutely vital and necessary for our protection. If the public, or at least the people who care about civil liberties, have the burden, then the default position is that its NOT OK, unless it's unnecessary or the government is somehow abusing the collected information.
Initially, our Republic was founded and established to distrust government. That's why we have the Bill of Rights, the division of power between the Federal and State governments (at least we once did), and the checks and balances inherit in the three branches.
However, as the "nanny" state has emerged and grown, Americans have become more accustomed to government oversight, regulation, and control. Recent polls on this subject indicate that most Americans don't care if the government collects this data. Even Republicans are sharply divided over this issue.
Rand Paul believes the Government is overreaching, while John McCain and John Boehner believe the Government is well within its bounds by gathering this information.
What do you think?