People misunderstand what a police state is. It isn’t a country where the police strut around in jackboots; it’s a country where the police can do anything they like. Similarly, a security state is one in which the security establishment can do anything it likes.
We are right on the verge of being an entirely new kind of human society, one involving an unprecedented penetration by the state into areas which have always been regarded as private. Do we agree to that? If we don’t, this is the last chance to stop it happening. Our rulers will say what all rulers everywhere have always said: that their intentions are good, and we can trust them. They want that to be a sufficient guarantee.
Journalist and novelist John Lanchester has written a great long-form piece in the Guardian about mass surveillance and privacy in the UK. It’s interesting to see a view of the secret Snowden documents from a sort of layman’s perspective, and I particularly like his idea of a digital bill of rights.