This is an important issue, which we need to examine, and which affects the lives of almost everyone in the country. Are we comfortable with the way in which our personal data is collected, and who has access to it? How much does our right to privacy matter, in an age where we share photos and personal details online with so much abandon? What is the balance that needs to be struck between security and liberty?
Angela Merkel's call yesterday for a European network "so that one shouldn't have to send emails and other information across the Atlantic" is hardly surprising given the revelations of how German and other European citizens have had their data indiscriminately collected as they use web services based overseas.
Some of the most memorable headlines of 2013 involved personal privacy, data security and intelligence gathering issues from all corners of the globe - from the US to Brazil, from Australia to India. But what has bothered me about the conversation to date is the way it has been framed by some defenders of mass surveillance programmes. We must choose, they say, between security or privacy, protection or liberties.
The Snowden revelations have indicated that the security services have engaged in legally dubious gathering and monitoring of our communications data. We know that they, along with some ministers, want the legal power to do this on an even larger scale. David Davis MP recently requested his mobile phone provider to give him all the data they held on him for a single year. What they gave him could fill a shelf and highlighted serious implications for our privacy that access to metadata can have.
Today, at dozens of cities across the world, one million people will be marching. Many will be wearing Guy Fawkes masks, and protesting against...well it's not exactly clear. Injustice and corruption have both been mentioned. But internet spying by the NSA and other government agencies will be the main rallying call.
One of the many remarkable things revealed by the NSA spying revelations is how remote from the subject of their surveillance spies have become. Programmes with enigmatic names like XKeyscore or PRISM scan mainframe computers in far away bunkers, collecting and sifting through reams of emails and searches, which disconcertingly reveal to faceless bureaucrats our most intimate thoughts and intended actions.
Different kinds of activism call for different kinds of strategies. Our motivations for stepping back from our routine to act upon the world we live in vary. For some, it is the disappointment with how things are that triggers a desire for change. For others activism comes as an act of solidarity for a fight already started.