Don’t trust on the goodwill of the people operating such a system, Acci. If such a system is in place, it should be thightly and publicly controlled, not something running in the dark. It can easily go wrong, especially when Agencies are given a free hand, and operate in a climate of suspicion and paranoia where the rights of an individual are deemed less important than National Security concerns.
A TRUE STORY
Just a true story that happened here to highlight what I mean, how this can interfere with the lives and rights of innocent people if such liberal tapping opportunities are allowed to run wild. It happened recently to a Science teacher here in my country, and your NSA and their random internet tap activities play a role in it.
The Science teacher in question is named Jaco Alberts. He was officially retired, but a member of the Cito committee that puts together exam questions for our national high school student exams.
In preparing one potential exam question for the Chemistry exam in 2004, he did some internet research. This intended exam question was a calculation involving “heavy water”. The teacher remembered that the amount of human bodily water can be determined using a technique including “heavy water”. He hit to internet to find the details, and also to find some info on the production technique of “heavy water” to use in the introduction of the question. So he Googled, and you guess it: with keywords like “Heavy water”.
In June 2004, two agents of the AIVD (the Dutch Secret Service) contacted him and said they wanted to talk to him. About “Weapons of Mass Destruction”. “We know you looked up info on Heavy water on the internet” they said. When Alberts told them it was in his role as a Chemistry teacher they said: “we checked that, but you are retired”. Alberts said: “yes but it still has my interest”, and they answered: “Your interest is much too deep for that”. He then told them about his membership in the Cito National high school exam committee; and that it concerned preparation of an exam question (questions which are prepared in secret until the exam in question is taken of course).
It turned out these agents knew exactly what and where he had been checking on the internet, and where in his network he asked around. Because the whole process of making questions for the National Highschool exam is secret, this can only have been revealed through taps on Alberts e-mail and internet browsing. Much later, in the process of a complaint procedure filed by Alberts, there has been some suggestion that the source of this information was gathered “at the other side of the water” (i.e, the USA, due to your NSA’s internet monitoring). Officially, the AIVD doesn’t want to disclose their sources.
It later also turned out that prior to talking to Alberts, the AIVD agents had questioned colleagues at the school he worked for until his retirement, and people in his contact network. In fact, his former employer already had informed the AIVD agents that Alberts was a member of the Cito exam committee and that this involved research to prepare exam questions.
Next the AIVD agents suggested there was a connection with Abdul Qadeer Khan. Turns out: misfortune had it that Alberts had, decades ago during the ‘70-ies, been living in the same street as Khan, the infamous Pakistani scientist who during his stay in my country stole secret information on Uranium enrichment centrifugion techniques, which allowed Pakistan to develop it’s atomic bomb.