I think we need to take care on how Snowden is portrayed here. Regardless of the reason for his actions they were still treasonous. Should we be giving criminals so much credence?
The documents that he claimed to have stolen and subsequently released by Wikileaks have never been corroborated by any national agency. Wikileaks is a notorious site for conspiracy theorists, which is always good for a chuckle but hardly genuine, trustworthy and reputable journalism.
However, even if we accept the claims made, there is no human in earth that can scan a billion emails or phone calls per day, this has to be done by machine, these machines can only look for key words or patterns. Only once a pattern has been identified would a human get involved. None the less this would still result in a huge number, the human would then filter the messages on patterns. Only once the number is done to a manageable level would any content be analysed, and (depending upon how your government works) only then with a warrant to target that individual, business etc.
If all this data is stored where on earth is it going? We’d be talking about Zetta bytes of data that is constantly expanding. You’re going to need a power station and a huge warehouse just to keep this data alive.
I need to add I’m in no way a rampant right wing firebrand, however I do think we need to keep the ramblings of the media in context. The majority of modern journalist outlets are there to sell copy, rather to genuinely inform. Let’s not blindly jump on the same bandwagon because it the trendy thing to do.