Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Bruce Schneier writes that lots of people discount the seriousness of the NSA's actions by saying that it's just metadata — after all the NSA isn't really listening in on everybody's calls — they're just keeping track of who you call. 'Imagine you hired a detective to eavesdrop on someone,' writes Schneier. 'He might plant a bug in their office. He might tap their phone.' That's the data. 'Now imagine you hired that same detective to surveil that person. The result would be details of what he did: where he went, who he talked to, what he looked at, what he purchased — how he spent his day. That's all metadata.' When the government collects metadata on the entire country, they put everyone under surveillance says Schneier. 'Metadata equals surveillance; it's that simple.'"