What do we have to fear, if we have nothing to hide? Plenty!
If one wants to find out something about a person today, one no longer needs a private detective. One only needs an Internet connection and a Facebook account. It is remarkable what intimate details people reveal about themselves voluntarily. The National Security Agency also has a Facebook page, but it doesn’t need it to find out everything imaginable about people. The U.S. intelligence service can access emails and Internet data, can eavesdrop on phone conversations and look at private photos. One can take notice of it with a shoulder shrug because there’s little to do about it, because one has oneself lost track of the jumble of data and because one has a clear conscience since one has nothing to hide.
One can also be up in arms over the arrogance of a superpower that once again places itself above civil rights. After imprisonment without a trial (keyword: Guantanamo Bay) and murder on the basis of suspicion (keyword: drone program), the suspension of any data privacy for non-U.S. citizens is the lesser course of action — but one that affects millions of people.
Does the U.S. have the best intentions with the program? Absolutely. But what if the hunt for terrorists turns into the hunt for opposition members? What if criticism of the U.S. is already seen as a threat to national security? Nations have again and again abused their power in the past, and therefore they have earned our basic mistrust. The less they know about us, the better.