I see these two issues (I’m sure there are others) at the heart of this issue:
As long as I’m not doing something illegal, I don’t have anything to fear from snoopers into my cell phone conversations or the contents my hard drive, or from the security cameras that are becoming more frequent on the fronts of buildings and looming over street intersections.
Do I care if some government snoop is looking through my files? Yes, I do mind. But the real threat is:
When I read that people have said indiscreet things, sent nude selfies over the ether, retained records that they should have destroyed, I can only marvel, and have to say that it’s their own fault, for which they must suffer the consequences (as must the people who steal and/or release to the public information or images that were never intended to be publicized).
Therefore, it seems to me, that the ramifications of privacy and its invasion in the electronic world should be thoroughly and competently taught in the schools — just like driver’s ed, and for some of the same reasons.
Aside from good sense, the next best defense is encryption. “Encryption,” the cypherpunks used to say, “is really a matter of economics: how much money are you willing to spend to keep me from getting into your files, and how much money am I willing to spend to get in there?” But the Feds (and other big government agencies, such as the Chinese) have a huge advantage (as the Silk Road folks just learned), so even strong crypto isn’t a sure bet.
I can probably buy an encryption system good enough to keep amateur snoops, and maybe even local police, out of my hard drive or cell phone — at least for now. But the other force working against encryption is Moore’s Law. Schemes regarded as unbreakable in the 1990s can be penetrated in a few minutes today.
So the only real defense against snooping turns out to be common sense. Don’t commit anything to the ether that you would not want to wind up in strangers’ hands and could be used against you.