"It used to be that much of our privacy came from the fact that it was difficult and expensive to compile information about us. The people who cared, like the town gossip, could find out and spread our personal business, but it wasn't necessarily cost-efficient for our employers or the government to do so. When events made an investigation worthwhile, the investigator would go through the trouble and expense of performing a background check, getting a warrant or watching our movements on the streets. The fact that surveillance was costly limited the frequency of its use, and helped ensure there was adequate justification before individuals were scrutinized." Technology and laws originally intended to detect and prevent crime or terrorism are always eventually used to nail the average guy for even the most trivial of reasons. Or for no reason at all.