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Letter to the editor: U.S. is not alone in ability to monitor activity by others

The fact that the National Security Agency has the ability to overreach authority does not prove that said authority was occasionally abused or regularly abused in any way. So far this is still an unproven allegation from a person who apparently had little regard for his employer or the government he was to serve. I believe that our government does not have the inclination or manpower to listen to ordinary conversations of citizens or even of other government offices. The ability to monitor, however, has been in place for decades and most governments have that ability. The U.S. is not alone in that regard and never was.

This same ability can be used, if needed, to monitor criminal or terrorist activity at home or abroad; and said ability has been in place for decades. Edward Snowden did not tell us anything we did not already know. He may have gone into more detail by way of explanation of possibilities, but we were well aware that all governments and law enforcement agencies can access information on the Internet whenever it finds a need to do so. This is also true of GPS and cellphone locations.

Additionally, Snowden is not the contractor. He was employed by the contractor and was never an owner of that business.

Aside from governments and law enforcement agencies, hackers and even ordinary Internet users can and do use online information for their own entertainment and/or illegal purposes. Identities and assets are often stolen this way as it becomes easier to access our banking and personal records. When the Internet is used to bank, pay bills, order online and do other business we will lose more privacy. For people who use this convenience regularly there is LifeLock or other businesses that reduce the risk. We apparently will rely on the convenience of this technology more in the future, and this is our choice and our right. But we should not blame any organization for the risks we choose.

We do need law enforcement agencies and governments to access areas necessary for our defense and protection.