Bruce Schneier has an interesting piece at Wired.com on privacy and security and government surveillance. Right now, the idea of an "expectation of privacy" makes up the litmus test for US courts on what the government can and can not do when it comes to eavesdropping. The problem, he argues... Given today's information society, "that definition test will rapidly leave us with no privacy at all."
Between the NSA's massive internet eavesdropping program and Gmail's content-dependent advertising, does anyone actually expect their e-mail to be private? Between calls for ISPs to retain user data and companies serving content-dependent web ads, does anyone expect their web browsing to be private? Between the various computer-infecting malware, and world governments increasingly demanding to see laptop data at borders, hard drives are barely private. I certainly don't believe that my SMSes, any of my telephone data, or anything I say on LiveJournal or Facebook — regardless of the privacy settings — is private.
In other words... no expectation = no privacy. Things will change, he points out, but doesn't pretend to know how.