This is basically a very interesting and pretty fundamental question for the society. After 9/11 the US changed the way they work significantly. Just as an example: Airlines had to give the US government information about passengers flying to the US that actually violate the privacy laws in Europe. So, the decision had to be made: Either you violate the laws or you do not fly to the US anymore… What do you do now? Well, the Data Protection Officers actually had to give in.
So, if you look at it from a broader perspective: It is pretty natural that National Intelligence as well as Law Enforcement is looking for as much information as possible to fight crime. And I guess, that successful Law Enforcement and Intelligence Services is something we all would like to have – we want them to protect us. But what are we willing to pay? How far are we letting them invade our privacy? This is the key question and something there is no one answer for.
If you look at this article US spy chief puts security over privacy compared to the comment I made in 2-year old terrorist, it really scares me. I see the dilemma we are in – no doubt. And to be completely honest: I am not sure how far I want to let my privacy go for the sake of my security. I am living in a very safe and secure country – in Switzerland. However I know that the National Police has to work hard to keep it that way. So probably it is as always: As long as nothing happens to me personally, I fight for Privacy. As soon as something happens, I want as much Security as possible.
A problem we all know, don’t we: Nobody wants to pay for security but as soon as something happens…