For those who have not read "1984" by George Orwell, I invite you to enjoy an interesting read. Our federal government has taken several steps down a slippery slope toward becoming Mr. Orwell's "Big Brother." Some may believe that our federal government's broad collection of data related to phone calls and Internet usage is benign. I believe that these actions are steps that can lead to too much power (information) in the hands of too few people, with too little oversight. The power inherent in the information collected can be used to strengthen the positions of the few at the expense of the many.

I'm a passionate believer that government and economic systems should be built on the foundation of open, free market exchanges of ideas, capital and work effort. Such systems result in the highest probability of individual citizens living happy lives. Our government's recent actions threaten that free market. It is a very short step from the collection of phone and Internet information to the formation of watch lists — potentially anyone and everyone who criticizes the government gets put on the list. It is a bit longer step, but not unheard of, for governments to then target groups and individuals on the lists to silence their criticism (the IRS scandal?).

I encourage all to write to our congressmen and senators to express outrage and demand change.

Garry Ottosen