Meanwhile, the struggle is underway over the federal government's (and others!) widespread snooping activities, as uncovered by Edward Snowden. It turns out that France and England, at least also had major programs for gathering and sifting e-mails, telephone and social media data.
So, despite the fact that Congress had authorized the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (Pub.L. 95–511, 92 Stat. 1783, 50 U.S.C. ch. 36), many Congressmen, including some who sponsored FISA and the USA PATRIOT ACT in the first place, are now arguing over how to amend the Act, change the court that issues warrants under the Act, and arguing with the Executive branch over what they intended with the laws they passed.
The ACLU has filed with the FISA Court a brief arguing for a public release of the court's records. Fifteen members of Congress have filed an amicus brief in support of the ACLU's position.
Here is a handy list of important actions involving FISA, the FISA courts from the Federation of American Scientists.
Atlantic article on how rarely FISA court orders are challenged.
Commentary on some of the proposals in Congress to "modernize" FISA from the Center for Democracy and Technology.
Blog at EPIC.org on FISA courts.
EFF.org on FISA
The decoration if from the movie, 1984, with an image of Big Brother.