With all this questioning on privacy, people still wonder why the government should NOT do arbitrary searches and spying on people's phone conversations and account.
"It's for National Security", they say. "We need protection from terrorists". So, the question is: Why should the government be restricted? I present my argument with a "worst case", which I call "the terrorist president".
The Terrorist President
Let's assume a close friend of Osama Bin Laden (or another famous terrorist) turns out to be elected by the people as president of the United States (without disclosing of course, his relationships with the terrorists themselves).
Using National Security as an excuse, the terrorist president begins wiretapping phone conversations, internet chats, and money transfers of bank accounts in the country. Using the "war on terror" as an excuse, use of encryption is forbidden and classified as treason.
Little by little, the terrorist president limits freedom of speech and uses the music and film industry associations of america (MAFIAA) to limit free distribution of content. Only content approved by the government will be able to get distributed.
Under the excuse of a terrorist threat, the terrorist president imposes new taxes on people, and begins seizing properties arbitrarily to fund his "war on terror".
The press is punished whenever they criticize the terrorist president, who accuses them of conspiracy and takes control of the press. When people begin to notice that their freedoms are limited, they want to move out of the country, but the terrorist president uses the wiretapping to arrest them and charging them for treason to the country. (Something like what happened on Eastern Germany before the Wall was brought down)
All in the name of "National Security".
Eventually, his relationships with terrorist groups are leaked. Everyone who posesses this information is charged with terrorism, and executed. Because the media is controlled by DRM restrictions, people can't distribute this information freely without being charged for piracy either.
Then, under this information control regime, the president manipulates the political parties and supresses candidates which are not "in line" with his thoughts. And how does he know? Because the NSA allowed him to. They have the whole country wiretapped.
Eventually, new elections come. The official candidates all support the terrorist president, and the congress approves unlimited re-election, and unlimited control of the government by the president.
The new Reign of Terror has finally been established. All in the name of "National Security".
So, why must the people's privacy be protected? Simple. To protect the people from a possible "terrorist government". The current government MUST FOLLOW THE LAW, and protect the FREEDOM of the people. Because if they don't, eventually a "terrorist president" could seize power. The current government must protect the people from the government itself. The government is NOT the Country. The people ARE the country. The government should PROTECT the people, not TERRORIZE THEM.
It's so ironic how the US declares war on "dictatorship states" (Iraq, Cuba, Venezuela), but paves the way so the US can become a dictatorship itself.
So, who will protect the United States from future terrorist governments? The actual government must. With legislation to limit the powers of the government.
Yes, we're screwed.