The NSA should continue with their work for two reasons. My first contention is the NSA only spy on criminals and people associated with them. They listen in on those phone calls to get information about crimes and prevent them. They are making the world a better, safer place. If they didn't listen in on phone calls, there would be a lot more crimes. Although it is an invasion of privacy, it helps to catch criminals. You need to weigh the pros and cons of this issue. Pro:The government finds out where a drug deal will take place. Con:The government also finds out the drug dealer's underwear is done at the dry cleaners. So the drug dealer's a little embarrassed, The government stops a drug deal. My second contention is that we let social networking and the internet know all this information, why can't the NSA know it. Facebook knows all your posts, likes, favorite games, and personal information on your profile. People know Facebook has access to all that information, but still use it.
Keith Alexander already acknowledged that the NSA collects "business records" of all phone calls and other electronic communications made in the U.S. but is prevented from investigating that mound of data unless it has "reasonable" justification involving communications with terrorists abroad. That statement"s an admission that the agency"s standard for snooping at home falls short of the Fourth Amendment: to search a person"s information and belongings, the government needs to get a search warrant based on "probable cause" that the person committed a crime. The nation"s founders deemed this requirement to be so important that no exemptions were made, not even for national security. Moreover, citizens should be notified if a warrant is made to search their information so that they have the chance to take it to court or just to know if their information is being searched. As for your 2nd contention, I agree that the NSA can look at people"s FB info if and only if it was publicly posted.
The NSA only looks at your information if they have probable cause, or reason to believe that your up to something. The fourth amendment also states if you have a warrent and the door isn't opened within a minute, you can knock it down. This way they don't have time to hide anything. If citizens were warned about them being searched, they would despose of any evidence before being searched. Thats why the NSA doesn't tell people.
My second contention was if facebook and google can have all this information, why can't the NSA?
First off, a little factoid I would like to bring to light is that this isn't the NSA's first attempt on gathering intelligence on its own citizens. Americans were told that the original warrant-less wiretapping program authorized by President George W. Bush had been successful in detecting and preventing attacks inside the United States," and even that it had saved "thousands of lives". Years later, an internal investigation was unable to back up those claims, and found that intelligence officials had difficulty citing specific instances where the program had directly contributed to counterterrorism successes." Instead, it has wasted time and resources by generating false leads and spying on people unconnected to terrorism. I agree with you that people shouldn't be notified of spying beforehand but perhaps someone questioning the authority of the NSA would be the right time to pull out a warrant. Besides, most crime is organized through the Deep Web, which is much harder to access.
It is the job of the NSA to dig into the deep web and find crimes. They are finding evidence to backup suspicion. What you are talking about was authorized by the president at the time. Our current president isn't going to mess up like that because he learned from Bush's mistakes. That's how the world works. You learn from mistakes before you. Obama is fully aware of what the NSA is doing and hasn't put a stop to it. He isn't stupid enough to make a mistake that has already been made.
By "not putting a stop to it", Obama is authorizing the same operation that Bush started and is therefore making the same mistake. In reality, the internet and/or phone records are the main sources of the NSA's suspicion, while evidence is limited to the recorded conversations. This day and age, most people can make anonymous accounts for almost anything, and they can also get VPNs or join a proxy network to keep their identity safe, because in the age of information, people know they have to be one step ahead of hackers and/or the government. After all, that's how the world works.