I want to take a moment and address an issue that not many people may be aware of in regards to government surveillance of this nature.
I have a lot of friends with serious mental illnesses, namely schizophrenia, bipolar, and other related illnesses. These people have taken years, sometimes decades, of their lives trying to recover, and some have been extremely successful and productive citizens while others are still struggling to cope.
In recent months, I have seen some of the most well adjusted, non-symptomatic individuals of over 10 years progressively get worse and worse. Some have had to be hospitalized. When you have paranoid conspiracy theories that you're being watched by, let's say the government and aliens, and it's not true, being told it's not true and working through things, dealing with medication and therapy... all I can say is that these people have been through some serious issues and made it out great.
These news articles on government surveillance are proving their government conspiracy theories to be largely true. As a result, some of these individuals are jumping right back on the bandwagon in regards to alien conspiracies, which is completely unfair.
The American people are concerned about their privacy, and rightly so. I don't think the American people or the US government are considering what it is doing to the mental health of previously well adjusted individuals.
According to NIMH (National Institute for Mental Health) the numbers are as follows:
These two are directly related to people who are concerned about their privacy on the internet:
Approximately 2.4 million American adults, or about 1.1 percent of the population age 18 and older in a given year have schizophrenia.
Approximately 15 million American adults age 18 and over, or about 6.8 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have social phobia.
Paranoia and mood disorders cross over a lot more than you might realize as well:
Approximately 20.9 million American adults, or about 9.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year, have a mood disorder.
Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million American adults, or about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.
If you weren't aware of the numbers, this is a lot of people. Their mental health is deteriorating due to illegal government surveillance. This needs to stop not only for privacy reasons, but for public health reasons.
Tor is something that has helped these individuals stay sane for longer. These people are not extremists, they are dealing with mental illness.
It should not be considered an extreme philosophy to want privacy. Go to Menards or Walmart or something, how many house related items are directly marketed to promote your privacy? Window shades and blinds come to mind here.
Are we supposed to live in transparent houses? Why is it okay to want privacy in your home but not on the internet?
This isn't a new concept, either. The Privacy Act was implemented in 1974. The Freedom of Information Act was implemented in 1982.
Privacy is something that humans desire by human nature. Some more than others.