Orwell never could have imagined that the National Security Agency (NSA) would amass metadata on billions of our phone calls and 200 million of our text messages every day. Orwell could not have foreseen that our government would read the content of our emails, file transfers, and live chats from the social media we use.
'This effort,' the president cautioned, 'will not be completed overnight,' but he emphasized that it is important for 'the American people to know that the work has begun.' To that end, he announced 'a series of concrete and substantial reforms' that he intended either to adopt himself under his authority as president or, where appropriate, to call upon Congress to enact through legislation. How good a beginning has he made? I am in a reasonably good position to weigh in on that question, because I had the privilege of serving as one of the five members of the Review Group that President Obama appointed in August to advise him on these issues.