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As a consumer I can and do make the choice to provide information to a company online that provides a service to me of some kind. The difference between giving Google my phone number or Amazon my Visa Card info is that I CHOSE to do so. I can (and many do) decide to do business with one company vs another online based on which one has the better privacy reputation. Some use Yahoo or Outlook.com email rather than Google in hopes of avoiding online ads for example. The government never asked me if they could collect my data online, and according to the 4th amendment they have no right to data I own and have not chosen to share with them voluntarily without a warrant. The NSA activities are a clear violation of the Constitution to any objective observer.

The financial impact of the NSA activities is also dire. Already estimates are that billions in potential US corporate revenue has been lost as individuals and organizations choose not to do business with American firms based on the perceived security of their data. In a world that's moving rapidly to a cloud environment, US firms will quickly lose ground to international competitors with better safeguards unless there is public and significant change made to the way the NSA operates including I believe - complete elimination of bulk data collection.

The "national security" argument has been abused time and time again as an excuse for government abuse of power throughout human history. A good quote often attributed to Benjamin Franklin sums the issue up nicely for me: "Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither"

By Keith Robinson