But I don't know what the protocol is for complaining about the surveillance state, so I just wrote an email, sent it to the only US embassy email address I had and put Mr Roos' twitter handle in the post headline. Someone in the know should read it.
Full transcript as follows, and a little easy listening too:
To John V. Roos, US Ambassador to Japan
Speaking as a resident of Japan, tapping away on my Apple computer, reading my Amazon tablet and posting this letter on gmail (and my Google-powered blog), it occurs to me I need to ask whether the US government been monitoring, recording or (dare I say) spying on my actions.
I realise that you are under no obligation to answer such a question, one that I naively posed to you in tweet three days ago. You probably have a policy not to comment on matters of intelligence, and certainly a wise one would be not to respond to every nutty tweet you receive (especially one from me), but I'm not talking about The Third Man cloak and dagger intelligence no doubt perpetrated by every great power given half a chance.
No, this is a question about spying on an entirely different scale, as I'm sure you appreciate. The recent allegations from former NSA operative Edward Snowden of widespread data-mining of millions of Americans have really disturbed me. I hope the allegations disturbed you and turn out to be untrue, because taken at face value they paint a picture of a surveillance state that, by its very existence, has quashed the democracy it was supposed to have been safeguarding.
But of particular concern to me, is that while it appears recent US laws have enshrined, at least theoretically, a legal framework to decide whether a surveillance operation on US citizens may go ahead, there is not even that flimsy theoretical protection for non-US citizens. In other words, foreigners, innocent of any crime, or even suspicion of committing any crime, are fair game to have their data recorded and used at the US government's whim, with no legal recourse. This doesn't strike me as very democratic, if true.
Maybe writing this open letter is an act of folly, but beneath my smart-ass blogger shell beats the heart of an idealist who still believes the United States has a core decency capable of turning the ship of state away from the totalitarian rocks it appears to be hell-bent on striking.
It's sad that it has come to this, that I have reason to ask: Is the United States government spying on the general public of Japan?
Given recent revelations, it's a reasonable question that I hope you will see fit to answer.