Should you be concerned about the NSA's surveillance programs?

President Barack Obama answers questions during a press conference in the East Room of the White House August 9, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama answered questions on national security issues and related matters during the press conferece.

President Obama said last week that "the American People need to have confidence" in the NSA's surveillance programs. The administration has proposed several steps including a task force that will review surveillance technology and practices, and a website (which will launch later this week) that will detail just what the NSA does and does not collect. If you're worried about government surveillance of your online activities, hard to tell if a website is the thing to make you feel better. But one thing's for sure. Continuing revelations about government surveillance could start to change behavior. Some email providers have now shut down, saying email just isn't a secure service, period.

Eva Galperin, at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, thinks that the latest information about the government looking through digital data will have a chilling effect on some communications, and that everyone should be concerned.

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Ben Johnson is the host of Marketplace Tech.
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Sorry, not good enough. These programs need to be public, open, and above all, tightly limited in scope and function.

We have allowed the press to focus on Edward Snowden, not on the gross overreach of data collection by the NSA and (worse yet) the private sector, which then can be compelled to hand over data that the US government is not permitted to collect directly. "Have faith" -- about what? That administration officials can lie directly to the US Congress without penalty? That clearly the NSA is not telling us the truth what it is collecting and what safeguards are in place that what is collected is used for a specific, well-defined purpose and is not retained for other purposes? That the NSA has encouraged other agencies to actively hide the source of data that is used in other court cases -- isn't that fabrication of evidence, folks? That we are intercepting the communications of our friends and allies without their knowledge, in breach of every kind of international treaty, or dictate of good faith?

Telling us all to calm down and it'll all go away.... yes, it'll take the pressure off them. For once, the people are driving the bus on this issue. No way. Not this time.

Regardless who started it, *this is not acceptable behavior for any government purporting to be any form of democracy*. Period.

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