Know the debate on security is immensely polarised - but what the heck!
I'm just wondering if the term "Mass Surveillance" is being used to sow unnecessary discord and paranoia.
After all, it is THIS term that is being used time and time again throughout the media with regard to Edward Snowden etc.
A check on the wiki entry for this term indicates that its origin was in the war-time surveillance of transatlantic phone calls, in which each and every call would indeed have been checked and monitored.
And, surveillance is the complete and targeted observation of a targets movements.
"Mass Surveillance" implies and is being interpreted by many people as the government thus tracking vast swathes of the population in detail.
Whereas my understanding of what is going on is that these systems merely sweep up vast quantities of data, into storage, where it remains largely completely unresolved.
In this respect we all have data like this - e.g. the telephone directory, containing thousands of names, addresses and telephone numbers - which means they are also somewhere on the NSA database.
Anyway - they have this massive database which is in fact a centralisation of the database repositories of many other sources - so exists anyway in some form.
And all they are doing is selecting specific targets which allow the algorithms to access the data to find connections relating to that specific target.
So as far as I can see NO mass surveillance is in fact going on. What there is, is "Mass Data Collection".
To describe the mere possession of data as "Mass Surveillance" I would have thought is a skewing of the truth and represents a negative characterisation of the reality.