Privacy is a conservative cause: Why we should question the Bush/Obama surveillance state

The NSA affair has definitely spurred new thinking, but more needs to be done. Conservatives must begin to scrutinize the nexus between tech companies, such as Google, and the federal government. There is no longer a wall between the private sector and government surveillance.

These data-collection giants are not even a valid subpoena away from handing over our most personal data, which they organize, analyze, and “monetize,” in Google parlance. Look no further than Wednesday’s news for evidence of how the wall between public surveillance and private surveillance is now rendered meaningless for policymakers. The NSA tapping into Google’s data centers is reminiscent of the age-old “Willie Sutton” rule: The agency captured personal data profiles from Google because that’s where the data is. Indeed, the search giant has emerged as the purveyor of all of our personal information — in one sense the NSA’s leading vendor.

Today’s tech behemoths amass huge collections of information, and use them to develop profiles that predict behavior and receptivity, everything from the content of emails to tracking our daily activities, habits, wants, etc. It all goes well beyond sophisticated marketing.