Wednesday, June 12, 2013 | 2 a.m.
As you read this, a computer somewhere is sifting through data all in the name of protecting you (and me) and our country from terrorism.
Before last week, such a statement shouldn’t have been a surprise — the government has always tracked electronic communication — but the news last week that it could be yours (or mine) was a shock, as was the extent of the National Security Agency’s massive electronic dragnet.
The reaction has been described in black-and-white terms: This is either something out of “1984,” a terrible invasion of Americans’ privacy, or an important part of the nation’s security. Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old who leaked the information to the media, has been described as a “hero” and a “traitor.”
In the post-9/11 world, is there any gray area? Is there a balance between privacy and security? (The government seems to think collecting “metadata” is that balance.)
This issue is serious, and it’s worth a full discussion.
Follow this link to find a few columns about the NSA’s surveillance program, which present different points of view and should be a good place to start. What do you think about this situation? I’d like to have your thoughts on the issue. What do you think? Send us a letter or comment on the Internet and we’ll print a selection of the responses we get.