The Obama government has long offered FISA courts as the proof that whatever NSA has been doing is legal. However, the procedures observed by the FISA courts have just been made public, showing that these procedures have gaping loopholes. For instance, if a U.S. user browses on Tor, he is no longer considered a U.S. citizen and thus, information about him will be retained.
According to the procedures defined by FISA courts, the NSA is not allowed to retain information on any U.S. citizen. However, that is an empty statement. There are a bulk load of ‘exceptions’ which virtually apply to every other user and using those exceptions, NSA can effectively retain information on most U.S. citizens.
One example is that of Tor. According to the top secret rules that NSA observes, it treats any anonymous user as a non-U.S. citizen. For instance, if you are sending an encrypted email or make use of an anonymity tool such as Tor, the NSA would automatically register you as a non-U.S. citizen and will have all the freedom of gathering your data and information about you.
In other words, if you try to keep your online communications anonymous, that only highlights you on the NSA radar and you can expect to be more actively monitored as a result.
Not only that, if the communications of a U.S. citizen indicate that they are important for national security, these communications can be accessed and stored by NSA for years. Naturally, who gets to define ‘national security’ is ambiguous and under the cover of such terms, NSA effectively targets non-US as well as US citizens without any repercussions whatsoever.