They want the metadata because it is the road map to all the content they suck down. It also helps them improve on their word filtering. They couple it all together to get a better picture of what everyone is feeling, thinking, saying, doing, and likely to do, or not, based upon behavioral patterns. How would you like a network of supercomputers anticipating your every thought and causing the system to interact with you in a way designed to cause certain thoughts and behaviors in you without your knowledge or consent?
Think they're not working on it? Think again.
"The bill that the intelligence committee voted on this week would expressly authorize this bulk collection for the first time, and that would be a huge step backward for the rights of law-abiding Americans," said Sen. Ron Wyden.
Wyden and privacy advocates are also concerned that the bill would place in statute authority for NSA to search without a warrant for Americans' e-mail and phone call content collected under a separate FISA surveillance program intended to target foreigners overseas. That is what Wyden has called a "back-door search loophole."
A competing version of reform legislation is pending in Congress. The USA Freedom Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), one of the original authors of the Patriot Act, would end the phone records program as part of a broader package of changes.