There’s a huge storm brewing as there should be over the 4th amendment, the NSA, the government’s role, and private companies’ responsibilities. As you wade through the mountains of information, it’s probably a good idea to acquaint yourself with the basics of the controversy, and prepare your mind for the onslaught so you can be a critical thinking news customer.

The 4th Amendment is supposed to protect American citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. It requires the government to secure a search warrant from a judge who weighs probable cause with our right to privacy and whether it’s likely that we committed a crime.

I believe the U.S. Government is overstepping its responsibility in protecting its citizens against terror. We shouldn’t be strip-searching old women. The Patriot Act shouldn’t apply to anything but terror, and even then it needs to have a ton of legal oversight. The recent NSA controversy is far from over, but it is clearly beyond the pale. Technology’s advances, a lazy Congress, and the administration’s reliance on emergency precedents are all at fault for the current trampling of the 4th amendment.

No one yet seems interested in addressing or fixing this problem.