If I call it "privacy" -- I think of walking around with my fly down. People can see something that normally they're not supposed to see. The risk of a privacy problem is embarrassment, or maybe worse -- you could get divorced because of a privacy problem.
But what if what is exposed is illegal, something you could be prosecuted for, then jailed, or maybe even executed. Like treason for example. A word that's thrown around far too casually these days. That's how totalitarian governments work. They have all kinds of hooks into data about people, the more the better, and then they either use existing laws, or create new ones, that make the things ordinary people do all the time illegal, and punishable by jail or death. Couldn't happen in the US? People thought that about Germany all the way up to the point they "discovered" death camps all over Europe. We had slavery in this country, a time when human beings were considered property and could be killed whenever you wanted, if you owned them.
We know from Snowden that even a low-ranked analyst at a contractor can read your emails. So what do we know about the intentions of all of those people?
And this tells us nothing about the intentions of future governments. Our emails are being stored in a big data warehouse where anyone at NSA, now or in the future, can get at them.
Either Obama is a con man or extremely naive. I don't think he's naive. I have no idea what motivates him. He must know that governments, even democratically elected ones, persecute citizens.
Imho, he's trying to cover up the biggest scandal since Watergate. Has he studied history? Does he really think this is a "phony" scandal, as he's said? That it will just blow over? I wonder if perhaps he was too young when Watergate happened, and didn't study the history of the attempted coverup that didn't work.
And all the reporters who talk about the value they add by investigation, it's time to pony up. And stop suggesting that people be jailed for doing the work you say you admire so much. This is serious business.