I’m going to disagree with the espoused equivalence of government snooping and corporate snooping. The former is enabled by the latter but that is still conflation of the two issues. A consumer opts in when they utilize a service, asks to access something on the web cheaply, or for free. There is an implicit agreement between the consumer and the corporate interest that the consumer may or may not be aware of in entirety. The government access whether through CNO/CNA/CNE or simply purchasing the data is a completely different issue. A government is not selling a product or using the data for the purposes of profit. The government inherently has the ability to compel, imprison, and punish based on the accesses it compels and data it finds. Government utilization of information assets are not about consumer driven behaviors but legislated mandates of security and welfare of the state.
The red herring continuously flagged by those in the security state apparatus that corporations are the real ill in the privacy and security paradigm not the government weakens the credibility of the pundit. Though corporate misuse and sale of the information is a ripe debate the reality is that saying corporations do it so the government isn’t an issue is fallacious. The two conversations are separate. Government abuses generalizable as capabilities of mass surveillance did not exist three decades ago. The fact that a capability exist does not excuse the use of that capability in absence of discussion. Since no public policy debate existed those who have abused or used a new capability without considering the ramifications to their all source collection methods are in error.
You may agree or disagree with the admonitions that government surveillance is not equivalent to corporate surveillance. You may also suggest that nobody in fly over country really cares about the intelligence apparatus. Now that the corporate behemoths care they can create significant issues for the intelligence and security apparatus. Politics is money and the risk metrics for corporations are pointing towards legislated mandates to corral and constrain the intelligence community by removing their authorities.
Personal opinion for those that care: I am personally ambivalent to the mass surveillance of NSA and the intelligence community. Really I don’t personally care, and yes I live in fly over country. I am angry with General Hayden and General Alexander for allowing a culture of arrogance at NSA to allow information security to be so poor. I have seen no capability I could not create in my laboratory nor anything that I would not have expected the intelligence community to be doing. What I have seen is a mass failure in leadership to foster a culture of caution and security within an intelligence organization that allowed a Snowden event to occur. Whether I agree or disagree with the mass surveillance organization is immaterial now that the information is in the public domain it should be discussed. The failure to discuss it openly has now created distrust. That distrust will be leveraged and actually materially weaken the nation state. That actual weakening should be laid at the feet of Hayden and Alexander. In my opinion.