I am a US citizen, and all of my email communications are being held indefinitely by the NSA. If in the future, a federal agency becomes interested in me, they can scour the entirety of my private communications, throughout my lifetime.
I was lead to believe that in the US, my email was stored on the servers of a private company, and that they could not be read unless a judge signed off on a warrant that justified the need. This is not the case. Furthermore, it seems that the NSA has cataloged other information about me, including my telecommunication metadata, as well as my activity on many private networks. I am under NSA surveillance at most times.
It would appear that the US government does not trust any of its citizens enough not to record them to the best of their ability. The US might not appear to be a police state at present, but by becoming a surveillance state, its government agencies have assumed the capabilities of one.
The NSA did not want the information regarding its actions disclosed. The private companies that were providing their customer’s information to the NSA mislead their customers on the NSA’s behalf to maintain this secrecy. The NSA does not want to dissuade us from using the services it monitors.
When a government copies all of your mail, analyzes all of your telecommunications, and monitors your private interactions, you live in a surveillance state. If these powers are abused, you live in a police state. Lack of abuse does not equate to freedom, however. Freedom is ensured by limits on power, not simply by the nature of its application.
From my personal perspective, the US is a surveillance state. Currently, most Americans share this perspective. I expect that the US will remain a surveillance state hereafter; governments rarely give up power. However, I don’t expect that it will always remain benevolent for so many of us. In time, more Americans will experience life in a police state.
I am a US citizen. I live in a surveillance state.