In the fleury of panic and outrage that sprang from last week's revelations in The Guardian over the NSA collecting huge amounts of telephone and online user data many have largely stopped discussing the topic rationally. Obama is now George W. Bush! and the government is listening to every phone call you make to Pizza Hut! and 1984 is here! Joking aside, much of this story is troubling but the hysteria is an unnecessary impediment between it and truly understanding a complex issue.
David Simon wrote a piece on his blog on Friday, that I largely agree with, that sparked some interesting debate in the article's comments section. As well, he added an additional piece on Saturday copping to the fact that he did not fully understand the online side of the story.
Privacy is important. The discussion in which we weigh the need for secuirty with the protection of civil liberties is important. It's something that needs to occur everywhere, not just in the United States. But the important issue, which is oversight, gets lost when we derail the conversation from the word go by confusing the facts or by playing the hyperbole game.