bmacs27 says... Privacy and freedom are orthogonal. Privacy both grants freedom and takes it away. You're talking like there is a clear path for a centrist to take on this matter. My thought experiment was meant to expose a hypocrisy in too commonly held ideals. "Information should be free!" is often taken to mean that we should be able to access whatever information we want. On the other hand, "big brother" is a pejorative describing dystopian violations of individual privacy that reasonable people holding the former position often use. We can't have it both ways. Either we get to know what people are up to (e.g. terrorists, banks, lobbyists, politicians, government agencies, etc) while coping with oversight of our own activities. Or we lock down all the information and cope with the inevitable cheat avoiding detection. You can play the game of trying to break it down case by case, but the fact is surveillance can't really be implemented piecemeal. Once you decide to collect the information, you sort of get what you get. newtboy said: I prefer a world not governed with either/or questions and ideas consistently involving only extreme ends of the spectrum, but rather one where reasoned compromise and rational forethought rule the day. Sadly I seem to be a minority. If I must choose one over the other, I would always choose the choice that offers more freedom, and I realize that freedom is dangerous.