I don't know the context in which Gauck's (pronounced Gowk) below statement was made; so at the risk of being unfair to him, let me make this general point about German Vergangenheitsbewältigung, a term which means coming to grips with the past, especially coping with the totalitarian past.
If an abuse is not exactly like the historical precedent it isn't a problem. German Vergangenheitsbewältigung is a ritual whereby all energy is used up to condemn the past grave misconduct, and wallowing in the notion that the present generation does not and will never do anything remotely as evil, leaving no energy to reflect the present and to search it for modern emerging or manifest patterns of totalitarian abuse.
The German President, Joachim Gauck, concluded in a recent interview, that the NSA was not to be compared with the Stasi, because, [paraphrasing] "it is not like it was with the Stasi, where there exist big filing cabinets in which all our conversations are written down." No, indeed, nothing like that. As OpenDataCity notes, at the NSA, conversation contents are neither written down nor filed - but digitally recorded, saved and can be searched and found within seconds.
In contrast to the Stasi, the NSA can count on new technologies and can therefore collect information in gigantic quantities.
To get the picture, OpenDataCity compared the data volume in this little app: