This whole issue of electronic eavesdropping, warrantless searches really concerns everyone. It is hard for me to form a good opinion on it since there are obvious dangers to our security from terrorists and the government needs effective tools to fight this menace. On the other hand, how much authority do we put in the hands of the government? It seems everyday there are stories about over eager prosecutors and law enforcement people trampling on the rights of political opponents, ordinary citizens and even people accused of non terrorism related crimes. Overly broad interpretations of the laws have allowed measures to deter terrorist to be applied to crimes not related to terrorism. I am at a loss. The politicians don't seem to be able to come up with a solution. There seems to be hysterical accusations of gloom and doom from all parties and no real common sense review of the law and it's impact.
I have often heard people say, "go ahead, listen to my cell phone calls, if you have nothing to hide, no problem." Well what if you get caught up in some investigation over some innocent conversation that is misinterpreted by the government? Look at Richard Jewell, his life was ruined by over zealous prosecutors, FBI agents and the media. It can and does happen. This issue affects everyone and needs a solution, but our current representation has their own political agendas and don't seem to be addressing this issue effectively.
This article provides good insight on the issue of security vs. liberty and how the average American views it. It is mostly from the progressive viewpoint (Democrats and Liberal) but I think the message applies across the political spectrum on this issue.
An older article that addresses some of the abuses of data mining by the government.
A good review and primer on the USA Patriot Act:
Here is the latest on the Patriot Act:
Organizations concerned with Liberty vs Security issues