In the beginning was the 9/11. (Well, actually, in the beginning was the first crypto war, back in the 90s, but ...) And the government said, let there be the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act (Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism). And there was all kinds of warrantless activity. And the government said, let there be warrantless collection of data about international (and some local) emails and phone calls. And there was bulk metadata collection, and metadata became a new "thing."
And ever since, the NSA has been collecting huge amounts of data, most of which doesn't indicate much of anything. Remember cost/benefit analysis? Well, now the NSA wants to stop doing it. Or, at least, stop doing most of it. Because it's just not worth it.
Lots of things in security sound like maybe a good idea--until you try them. I well remember the trouble Fred Cohen got into when he started teaching his security students how to write viruses, as an exercise in trying to improve security. He doesn't do that any more. His students just didn't learn that much from it. It's not worth it.
(Oh, and remember: if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear from the gigantic surveillance apparatus that the government is hiding from you ...)
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