JohnRawls wrote:The governments also have a need to protect the people and the easiest way to do it is through espionage and intelligence gathering. I am pretty sure that the governments understand that they are doing illegal things but the need to protect the people overrides the need for privacy on the importance scale. So both EU and US governments are kind of in a silent understanding between the state and their intelligence services that the state won't harass the intelligence services about this and the intelligence services agree to keep it as quite as possible and out of sight.
This is interesting because it asks the question. Should we be ok with governments spying on us, so long as they ignore what they find and only act on some very limited but extremely important things that they find.
An example would be they turn up information about all the porn sites someone might visit. Sure, they have that information on you, but so long as they never ever use that information for anything, or act on it in any way.... is it ok? Of course their goal isn't to understand what sorts of porn preferences someone might have, but that's just stuff that turns up when you run a spying operation. The danger is, there's always an individual that could use that against you, even if it's not government sanctioned.
Anyway, this would require some serious trust in your government though.