I'm not sure what you're getting at.. I'm curious though as to whether you approve or disapprove of government being able to sift through their own citizens personal emails and track their phone calls all without probable cause or a warrant?
My point was more that a great deal of what's been unearthed by the likes of The Guardian in the reports Snowdon leaked discusses capability. I was making the point that capability itself does not necessarily imply action, and asking at what point something would, in your view, actually constitute spying? Would it be at the collection of information- and no-one is doubting that the US has engaged in legally questionable data collection against citizens without probable cause. In my view, and in the view of most people I know who are schooled on the operations of SIGINT agencies like the NSA and GCHQ, it doesn't constitute spying until there's an active attempt made to exploit information held in the data- the mere act of it passing through taps, or existing in the background noise of Big Data projects, doesn't constitute spying even though it is constitutionally questionable.
I disapprove of the unnecessary collection of personal information but accept that emails aren't the property of the individual whose inbox it is, but of the service provider. Have a look at the T&C for something like Hotmail/Outlook and you'll realise that Microsoft can do whatever they want with your data. I also question whether the "sifting through" mail data actually takes place warrantlessly given that part of the whole debacle has been the secretive disclosure of email data by technology companies to the government, with most of those involved saying that there is a legal precedence and requirements to be met before they disclose customer data. My other point was that, if the NSA could conduct large-scale man-in-the-middle attacks against the SSL and TLS cryptography implementations used by email providers in their user interactions (which is one of the main arguments people have made on the issue) then why would they need to consult with the service providers at all given that they can just read everything, in plaintext, silently and without anyone ever knowing it was decrypted.
I'm not sure of the legal status of telecommunications contracts in the US, but I imagine that a similar arrangement exists for your metadata at least, which would include tracking information.