To me, it is indicative of enemies, domestic.
Likely not enemies.
It is a good historic indicator of a government, of whatever kind, that is in decline, that it is intensely interested in minutiae, instead of tackling the big issues that government typically is supposed to handle.
A superb example is East Germany in its final years. Horrific pollution, shortages of everything, bloated bureaucracy, cultural torpor, corruption and bribery for everything, and spies everywhere. Bloated dossiers on every person in the country filled with worthless information like the routes they took to and from work, what they ate for their meals, their toilet paper (in severe shortage) consumption, etc.
After the fact it was determined that at some point, half their population had been coerced into spying on the other half.
In the final analysis, nobody wanted to overthrow the government of East Germany, because nobody wanted East Germany. It had become such a miserable nothing and such an oppressive fishbowl, that it just died. The rebuild cost West Germany several fortunes, and everything that East Germany stood for was just swept away as ashes.
Ironically, the first such nation to have perfected the rules of an oppressive surveillance state was China under its first emperor. Most of the techniques still used today by inefficient tyrannies were innovated by them. And when the first emperor died, his surveillance state died with him, because it served no purpose other than to be annoying.
What truly rankles is all the wasted resources going into this surveillance state in the US, when there *are* real enemies it could be used against. While it’s not as bad as the short lived democratic government of Russia after the last Czar, who in the middle of World War I decided to abolish the rank structure in the military; it’s about that frivolous.
Simply put: Spy on our enemies. Not us! Get back to work.
It is the aggravation of hiring somebody to do computer work for your company and they spend all day surfing porn, and posting stupidity to 4chan.