Can the US Stop Itself from Widespread Surveillance?

The political climate following September 11th, when concern about terrorism briefly for some, and not so briefly for others, trumped democratic rights and even common sense, was not on its own enough to usher in a surveillance program on the scale of what the NSA has done. The new technologies over the last decade or so have also made this possible. Twenty years ago monitoring the phone habits of every American would have been an extremely burdensome task. Forty years ago, it would have been insurmountably difficult. Today, the technology exists to make this much easier. This means both that citizens and their representatives should be even more vigilant about protecting our rights and defending the constitution. Unfortunately, that has not been the case in recent years.