Not having strong policies regarding the privacy of users opens the doors to several problems, and in the United States one is suffering an important one.
The United States Senate agreed to give law enforcement agencies access to individuals' web browsing history data without the need to first obtain a court order.
For a time some senators have tried to prevent this from happening due to the massive privacy implications of this ruling. This vote was for an amendment to the Patriot Act, where they wanted to make changes to make it easier for the government to obtain data, without using the judiciary.
The votes to maintain privacy fell short, as it was reported that several senators did not appear, where at least one of them would have voted in favor of it. According to Senator Ron Wyden, having access to someone's web browsing history is almost like spying on their thoughts, which is why he defends that this level of surveillance always requires a court order (it will only be done if there are good reasons for it).
Unfortunately, with the amendment that did not get enough votes, it appears that the Patriot Act will remain as is in its current form. Speaking to Motherboard, Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight For The Future, said the Patriot Act should be repealed in its entirety, set on fire and buried in the ground, as there is no evidence that mass surveillance programs have saved a single human life.
The government's goal is to identify issues before they occur, a la Minority Report, even though the doors are too open, which is good news for VPN services designed to give our browsing more privacy.