To me? Not a lot. Sure, I’m appalled that the United States government would do this, but I’m not even a little bit surprised. I’ve always assumed that, if the technology and the will existed (and there was strong reason to think that they did), then it was extremely likely that we’d find ourselves here. CNet has a nice piece on some of the hints we’d receive earlier, if you’re interested.
This isn’t an Obama problem; this is a systemic problem that has existed for a very long time and has spread to all branches of the government. The legislature has left an ambiguous authorization of wartime powers against “terrorism” in place for over a decade now, and the judicial oversight that is supposed to provide a check against abuse has been utterly toothless.
Then again, this IS an Obama problem. Now that this is out in the open, there’s no longer even-implausible deniability. This on the watch of a President who promised change and transparency? It’s like his idea of “change” is to be even Bush-ier than Bush.
It is, I think, important that the backlash against the administration is severe. They were caught with their hand in the cookie jar and to let it go unpunished sets exactly the sort of precedent we don’t want to set.
I would wager that most of the people who read this post already suspected that this sort of program existed. The only difference is that now, there is proof. There’s no more benefit of the doubt. What’s the next move?