Below is an excerpt of an article that recently appeared in Melbourne, Australia's The Age, written by Carly Nyst, Head of International Advocacy at Privacy International:
"Mass surveillance of a country's citizens by its government can no longer be said to be the preserve of authoritarian and dictatorial states.
The publication last week by The Guardian of classified National Security Agency documents has exposed the extent of surveillance by the US government, throwing into question the security and privacy of the communications of people around the world.
Not only does the US government have carte blanche access to data collected by phone companies about every single phone communication conducted on American soil, but it also has a direct line into records kept by internet companies such as Google, Microsoft and Twitter. In short, the US has the ability to spy on citizens of almost every country across the globe.