Nerval's Lobster writes: If a new report in The Washington Post is accurate, the National Security Agency (NSA) has siphoned up millions of online address books and contact lists. The Post drew its information from top-secret documents provided by government whistleblower Edward Snowden, who spent the summer feeding information about the NSA to a variety of news outlets. Those documents hint at the massive size of the NSA’s operation; on a single day in 2012, for example, the agency collected 444,743 email address books from Yahoo and 22,697 from Gmail, along with tens of thousands of contact lists from other popular Web services. Snowden's documents (as outlined in The Guardian, Spiegel Online and other venues) have detailed a massive NSA program that's siphoning all sorts of personal information from a variety of sources — and yet the public seems to have greeted each new revelation with weakening outrage. Whereas the initial news reports about NSA splying in June kicked off a firestorm of controversy and discussion (aggravated by the drama of Snowden seeking asylum in pretty much any country that would have him), the unveiling of the NSA’s Great Contact-List Caper has ranked below the news stories such as the government shutdown, negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, and invites for Apple’s upcoming iPad event on aggregators such as Google News; it also didn't make much of a blip on Twitter and other online forums. There’s the very real possibility that Americans, despite the assurances of government officials, are being monitored in a way that potentially violates their privacy. Surely that’s an issue that concerns a great many individuals; and yet, as time goes by, it seems as if people are choosing to focus on other things. Are we suffering from "surveillance fatigue"?
"Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea, even
one which cannot be justified on any other grounds."
-- J. Finnegan, USC.