The level of policy discussion about NSA and other surveillance programs is WOEFULLY lacking. But that is the case for most political discussions in this country today. Americans are NOT being served by the press or their elected representatives in that the vast majority of Americans have no idea what the terms "bulk data collection", metadata, or "data mining" imply. I'm gonna give you a couple things to contemplate and HOPE that you then become invested in understanding and fixing this problem. 1) Data mining is the training of machines to recognize anomalous transactions between people or resources (when applied to monitoring terrorist activities). You cannot train a machine to recognize one anomalous transaction out of millions unless you've trained the machine to REJECT common normal transactions. To do that -- you NEED millions/billions of innocent transaction to "train on". Thus the need to do "bulk" collection. The folks (congresscritters, FISA judges) supposedly monitoring this activity probably have no real appreciation of this need. And to keep from the alarming the public euphemistically refer to metadata or anonymous data records. Anything with my phone number or bank information attached to it is NOT anonymous. 2) When we are reassured that only "foreign" inbound or outbound data is a target for collection, they are depending on the laziness and general stupidity of the American public. Since NSA is allowed to forced ISPs thru "court order" to gain access to colllections, this implies that surveillance taps are being allowed at many of the carrier sites and indeed may include a room or building that is staffed by govt (NSA) folk much like in the past when major US telcos were in bed with NSA for now revealed collection on foreign soil. IN FACT, the whole distinction of DOMESTIC collection is a canard. You could take all the ephemeral metadata the Google builds over the day and flash it over to a mirror site in the UK within a few hours every night. At that point, all of the data are no longer subject to FISA restrictions or "domestic" collection laws. And this is one of the revelations that Snowden and other Civil Libertarians have been trying to get folks to realize. In fact, when Google or Verizon are tapped, they can be "reimbursed" for access to their servers or physical installations on their premises. 3) I have no beef with NSA. They are a rare bastion of competence in a sea of govt bureaucracy. When their mission was to apply methods and practices to surveil our overseas threats, they could apply AWESOME measures. The American people do not want this extremely competent agency building massive new collection capabilities and analysis for domestic surveillance. Like that massive new building in Utah. That capability doesn't belong in political hands.. Support MEANINGFUL changes to the Patriot Act in Congress NOW. And THINK about what you are not being told and you are not hearing in public debate.