Ladies and Gentlemen I am somewhat skilled in this area, knowing the value of data, so please be worried when I say the NSA program(s) is beyond alarming. Please allow me to educate you.
What has come out is that in one program the NSA is copying only the where and when, and from who sort of data. The second program is a keyword search system.
What you do not know, but what will come out in the coming days is the contracts the Government and the Democrat Party have with private data sifting companies (some of which make Google look like a newborn baby). This data allows them to know prolific online users far better than you could expect.
For instance with data they can determine a married couple with adult children live at a residence. Monitoring search terms can show them which one gets online at what time. They can determine that, for instance, a divorce is likely by the male visiting porn sites when the woman is not home and the woman looking at certain advice columns.
Demographics, tied into web searches, will allow you to determine what will probably make a person politically active, politically inactive, and more.
Indeed, as a Tea Party Strategist I have a proposal to use Demographics and some browsing history to huge effect. While my aims are far more benign I recognize the dangers of this data.
My proposal is however something that should scare you none the less. It is far more Orwelian than you have ever thought.
My plan is to make hundreds of issue related sites, all on one issue (to cover all issues we would need millions). Each site is tailored to a demographic and to a political spectrum. Using cookies when possible, or partner provided data, we could determine some of the websites people visit, and of course where they live (and combined giving us a high probability of knowing their politcs, add political donations, voter registragions, and more for a more refined approach).
We then market a master url in region which pushses the best site for that IP adress. Best site is interesting for you reader, because we push sites designed to be imperceptibly to the right. maybe .05%, maybe 1%, of what our target likely is. The aim is to make the shift nearly impossible to detect. Sometimes this means a single word here and there changes... saddens becomes distresses, fight becomes brawl, and irresponsible to disrespectable... for examples.
By now I should have you scared with the implications. Never fear however as I said my aim is indeed benign. You see I know this is a coming step for our enemy. I have the foresight, and more, to see this coming.
So the aim is threefold; preempt, leak, and resolve. Launching this one one issue with evidence more was to come was stage one. Stage two is where some stupid dunce I co-opt without him knowing gains evidence and blathers it about. I can see Ron Wyden, Ron Paul and Libertarians frothing at the mouth as they declare it loudly. The next step would rely upon the enemy reaction. If they merely try to prevent people from coming to the sites then I win. If they make their own (per potential dictator) then I win. If they ignore it I win.
You see this is a way to make low information voters feel they need more information to find the 'right' sites (with each subfaction trying to lure them and stop them from wondering) or by ignoring it we get a 1% shift to the right annually.
The key is critical thinking. If I were to force liberals and low information voters to think critically then I have started their transformation to Conservatism (This also goes for Ron Paulbots).
A lesser version is also planned to recruit PCP Members where identifying strong Conservatives is the goal and their brand of Conservatism is how I target them with specific banner ads.
What can a dictator (or would be one) do with data anyways? Besides my own example...
With the data the NSA has they can determine the loners of society who are politically against them. Singled out these people have no defense. They can also determine who is statistically likely to fold under certain kinds of pressure (like tax audits).
I am also talking more refined raids and targeting than Gibson Guitars, the EPA Wetlands fight, and the likes. A dictator with this data can determine who will probably resist which efforts he would do. A Pol Pot with this level of data would be unstoppable. Whats worse is if you give a person like me, except without my morals, ethics, and Christianity, this data... he could become dictator for life in 20 years or so.
If this does not scare you then I can later tell you about some of these companies working for the left and some of the truly scary ramifications.
My qualifications are: Inventor of the first real new compresion method for data in about 30 years, a life of studying numbers, statistics, demographics, and of deep level pondering.
The Cure for this level of manipulation is to make it illegal. The bandaid for it is to make your own effort and to make people think critically.
I endorse making a Constitutional Amendment preventing the collection of data on persons excepting with formal warrants or for medical data at medical locations. I also would allow school records and tax info. I am sure a few more legit purposes besides say employment exist but large scale data collection must not be allowed ever on individuals.