Lt. Cheka Wey wrote:
. . . As a civilization, we tend to distrust individuals and governments that relentlessly pry into our private lives. There's no telling how a Romulan would view such behavior, however. It's entirely possible that they see the Big Brother element of the Tal Shiar as merely another means of providing security (although I doubt it). In any case, I never viewed the Romulan Commanders of The Original Series in a negative light, nor did I have a problem with Admiral Jarok, who risked his life to ensure a better future for his people.
They are still mostly scum with an openly imperialist government.
Remember that the TOS Romulans (who were introduced before the Klingons) were conceived as the good
bad guys. Although warlike and ruthless, they had admirable traits like bravery, integrity, stoicism, and devotion to duty.
With the debut of ST:TNG
and the Federation-Klingon alliance, the Romulans became the bad
bad guys. Even the constant-surveillance stuff was taken from the Klingon Commander Kor's lines in "Errand of Mercy."