Dr. Anders Sandberg, on the Oxford Martin School blog:
…unaccountable surveillance is much easier turned into a tool for evil than accountable surveillance: the key question is not who got what information about whom, or even security versus freedom, but whether there is appropriate oversight and safeguards for civil liberties.
To most people interested in surveillance the latest revelations that the US government has been doing widespread monitoring of its citizens (and the rest of the world), possibly through back-doors into major company services, is merely a chance to smugly say “I told you so“. The technology and legal trends have been clear for a long time. That intelligence agencies share information (allowing them to get around pesky limits on looking at their own citizens) is another yawn.
That does not mean they are unimportant: we are at an important choice-point in regard how to handle mass surveillance. But the battle is not security versus freedom, but secrecy versus openness.
See the full post here.