Op-Ed: Is there a reason to not freak out about the NSA?

Posted May 18, 2014 by Ryan Hite
There are plenty of reasons to freak out about the spying being done around the internet. There are also plenty of reasons to not freak out about it, but most people don't know why.
Frederic Jacobs
Amid all the opinions out there about all the bad reasons for the National Security Agency spying on the citizens of the United States through data mining and cell phone records, there are very few people who are looking at the bigger picture. This conversation needs to move beyond the government and form a topic of legislative discussion that talks about the balance between national security and civil liberties.
It is hard to have conversations about the National Security Agency because many of the people are not interested in talking about it rather than advancing their own opinions and beliefs about the company. People tend to focus too much on what the government is doing in this regard. Privacy is hard to define and even harder to defend, especially on the internet. The NSA is a huge deal, but it is not as big as some people and the media want you to think it is. There is a lot of bad that the government does and a lot that we don't know about. The NSA wouldn't seem like a big deal if we knew of all the secrets of the United States governmental activities.
There are many reasons that the NSA is a big deal. The NSA threatens our democracy in general. We are able to speak out about it with repercussions, though, so it seems like it is not as big of a deal to the government if it gets out. The NSA is not out to get you either, unless you are a terrorist. The NSA is also not the only people to be looking at your online patterns. When you get on the internet, you take the risk of having your information seen by people who may want to hack you or know what you are doing. The small threat of terrorism is not worth the cost of the program, although it seems like the NSA is doing a little more than combating terrorism.
There is reason to not be concerned, though. The first thing to note is that the NSA program is actually a legal program. We can see the budget for the NSA. There are many agencies that are not known to us that spend billions of our money each year. The NSA is a program that has their own website. The NSA is also not the real threat to our civil liberties. Terrorism is the real threat. Even with the increased security, we still enjoy a lot more freedom than other countries around the world. We would not be sitting here complaining about the NSA if we lived in a police state like North Korea. The NSA is also not actually eavesdropping on you. The NSA is data mining and looking for patterns of a few people suspected of being terrorists. If you are not looking up suspicious websites, the NSA is probably not giving you a second look.