It seem too me that the capacities of surveillance tech has evolved much faster than public understanding and emotion on the issue. As a non-US citizen, I am disgusted by the idea of my emails or metadata derived from them are massively stored away if they pass through the US, or even my own country. I understand and respect that some level of this must exist in modern society, but we need to have checks and balances that can be vetted by he public.
And can it not be wrong, even though I have nothing to fear? Have I nothing to fear from this system even if I am not a criminal?
Ethically, it is limiting to my freedom that there exists a stash of information somewhere that might be abused when taken out of context. Does that not limit my freedom to express radical opinion in private discussions, or even do so satirically? Can I no long play with unpopular ideas using electronic communications? Can I no longer listen to the voice of my opponent without fear of at some point being labeled one of them?
Legally, how can it be that an email is less of my property than a letter I store in a deposit box in my bank, or send in the mail? Is it not mine or the recipients only? If the state had an army of people standing by to make copies of every letter sent, the situation would be perfectly analogous. Is that not ransacking me, or confiscating my property only to provide me a copy?
Safety wise, if a record of my life is aggregated in a single source that I have no knowledge of, how can I know that it is truly safe? How can I ensure politicians spend enough on it's safety? I keep my IDs safe to prevent identity theft. What happens the day my life is stolen, but the theft is classified?
And last but not least, what happens to the balance of power between a state and its people here? The state is the servant of the people, and it should always respect that. When the people become submissive to the state, nothing good happens. We've spend much blood in the past to put it where it belongs, but it always threatens to slip back. We need people like Edward Snowden to blow the whistle when that happens. The very fact that he is now in hiding shows how the power-balance has it's centre of gravity atm.