State surveillance of personal data: what is the society we wish to protect? by Tom Stoppard

What in principle would justify the scope of the surveillance revealed by the Snowden leak? Would it be enough, for example, if it could be shown that a specific potential act of terrorism had been prevented by, and could only have been prevented by, the full breadth and depth of what we now have learned is the playing field of the security services?We should hesitate before we stray off the touchline. The idea that public safety, the safety of the innocent, is an absolute which trumps every other consideration, is tacitly abandoned in the way we live.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/10/state-surveillance-data-tom-stoppard

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