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The cloud is watching you

This undated photo made available by Google shows backup tapes stored at a data center in Berkeley County, S.C. It can, at first glance, seem a leap to draw a line between the way Americans share their private lives on Facebook or our search habits with Google and concerns about government surveillance. But surrendering privacy, whether to business or government, fundamentally shifts the balance of power from the watched to the watchers, experts say. (AP Photo/Google, Connie Zhou)

We are being told that, for years, the National Security Agency has been storing data on not just some of our phone calls, but all of our phone calls: the time the call was made, the length, the phone numbers – what’s called the Metadata. And I have to say … it’s beginning to look like the NSA never met-a-data it didn’t want.

Not to say that’s bad. You have to outsmart terrorists somehow. The question is do we have a right to know about this?

Last March, the Director of National Intelligence was asked this question by Congressman Ron Wyden, “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”

“No sir,” he replied.

But now we get a very different story from a whistleblower named Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former data analyst, who alleges that this data collection has gone far beyond even what paranoid people were thinking.

“I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to the president – if I had a personal e-mail,” explained Snowden.

Outrageous, right? Except so many of us, especially those of us under 50, have already voluntarily posted so much potentially compromising information that anything the NSA manages to find is probably redundant. What I find annoying is that with all that information about who’s e-mailing and who’s phoning who, they can’t seem to stop that Nigerian businessman who still needs my help transferring $20 million into his account.

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