The Edward Snowden leaks challenge policy makers and the public's understanding and perspectives on the role of security intelligence in liberal democratic states. This article explores the challenges confronting security intelligence collection by the ‘Five Eyes’ countries – particularly those most affected by the leaks. We argue that the debate now needs to move beyond simplistic notions of privacy vs. security to a more detailed understanding of the policy and ethical dilemmas confronting policy makers and intelligence agencies. To that end, we provide a schematic framework (methods, context and target) to promote a better understanding of the practical, policy and ethical problems for security intelligence collection emerging post Snowden. The framework is a first step in identifying common principles that could be used develop an ethically informed set of policy guidelines to help decision makers better navigate between citizen's two basic rights: security and privacy.