The issues concerning the internet these days may well be considered as precursors to GITS:SAC. Privacy, access, surveillance, information, internet morality, and humanity are all problems dealt with in "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex", except that the implications and legal ramifications are well established and things of the past. You will be compelled to outgrow the technological adolescence of the present very quickly to deal with the maturity and depth of the world of GITS.
I've seen the entire series, and it is by far one of the best anime series I've seen. The original movie was quite revolutionary by itself, but I have to say that the creators, producers, and studio have outdone themselves by a long shot with this series. The original characters are all there, Major Kusanagi, Batou, etc., with the addition of several others who provide support and round out Section 9, a futuristic FBI/CIA organization, as a unit. The series is very much like NYPD Blue, in that you get to know the characters and their cases quite well.
What's astonishing about the series is that the creators have provided an amazingly detailed premise: the world has gone COMPLETELY digital, and the world's population is now linked to the future version of the internet with implants to the point where the line between personality/self and this alternate space has blurred considerably. They then ask the mind-boggling question: what could possibly happen in this kind of world? They answer, of course, with half-hour case studies of cyber-crime, political intrigue, digital culture, and philosophical soul-searching.
Each episode is self-consistent and follows very stringently the physics upon which the series is based. By this I mean that this world has been constructed with a basic set of rules, and each episode tells a story based on these rules, but without bogging him/her down with details about the rules. Instead, the episodes tell their stories and the viewer is thus thrown in the proverbial deep end, inadvertently learning to read the fine print in between the storylines. The extrapolations, implications, and possibilities of such a world are explored to an incredible depth and detail that only anime can provide.
Of course, given the opportunity to explore, there are some episodes where the script becomes a bit too self-analytical, and that might detract the viewer from the storylines, but I think when you create such a world, you are somewhat obliged to ask them.
Can a machine ever have a personality? If your ghost (read personality) can be hacked, how can you tell what is real and what isn't? When your personality can be digitized and you can live immortal in cyberspace, what meaning is there to having a body? What kind of crimes will criminals commit and how will they commit them given such unlimited access? What will be the shape of politics in a wired world? Can computer viruses infect human beings? How do you define love/emotions in cyberspace? If you could choose to be a cyborg, would you?
If you've ever asked yourself these questions, find the answers in this technically brilliant series.