And it is a system of systems for gather copious amounts of information on all of us. Right now we're focused on the top level of this SoS, the NSA. The NSA, over time, has built interfaces into each and every participant for the express purpose of gathering the surveillance intelligence, either directly from participating Internet companies or from the web infrastructure itself.
Everyone is concentrating on the NSA at the center of this surveillance web, because that's convenient for the real owners of the surveillance web. The NSA didn't build it, contractors did, contractors like Booze Allen Hamilton. Government requested it be built, while the security industrial complex did the design and implementation. The NSA winds up being the willing stooges in this drama, paying for it all. All industry has to do is use the same interfaces and protocols, substituting their own control center for the NSA, and then sell the services back to the industry (and the subsequent 1%) as needed.
Why would industry do this? Bear with me a moment as I outline their ulterior motivation. I still remember what happened two years ago during Occupy Wall Street. Overwhelming civilian police force supported by real-time government surveillance was applied to a group of loosely organized, generally peaceful protesters. Because business as representing the 1% was scared shitless. Especially the high-technology businesses that are using their high technology to effectively destroy jobs that require some type of human labor. Whether it's through software (AI) or hardware (robotics, 3D printing), this latest revolution is destroying jobs without providing newer alternatives.
Think I'm crazy? There's an interesting article published by Gartner titled "As the digital revolution kills jobs, social unrest will rise." You should read it, because sooner or later it's going to wipe out all but the highest 1% in this society. And that's when this surveillance machinery that's been built over the last decade will really kick into high gear. And when the protests begin anew (and they will, you can count on it) and the jackboots hit the ground and our heads, then we're going to find out what it's really like to live in a dystopian society, one we've willingly fashioned and slept through the construction of.