Does it matter, if you’re doing nothing wrong, that the government is collecting your emails, your Tweets, your Facebook posts and monitoring you web browsing?

If the government says it is doing these things in order to thwart terrorist plots and you are in no way engaged in anything remotely related to terrorism, do you really care if the government is collecting and, in all likelihood, storing your emails?

How much privacy do you need, really, if you are not a criminal?

My answer: going to the bathroom is a perfectly normal thing that everyone does and for which there cannot possibly be any shame. But I still want a bathroom door.

I don’t want everything I do subject to public display or after-the-fact scrutiny. We all do things in private that are both perfectly legal and potentially embarrassing. In the hands of someone with the intent to abuse power, fear of embarrassment can be used to the same degree of effectiveness as fear of prosecution.

The IRS has admitted that it used its awesome power to target individuals and groups with political beliefs at odds with the current administration. Are we now to believe that it is beyond the realm of possibility that private emails could be used to intimidate someone into re-thinking the idea of running in opposition to the party in power?

And does national security trump all of these concerns?

I’ll admit, I don’t have an answer to that question. But it is nonetheless worth asking.

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