There's an issue that average people need to be aware of regarding the collection of information by government agencies. It's not just how the information that is being collected that is the issue, it's how that information can abused and how it can affect ordinary people.
HOW INFORMATION CAN BE ABUSED.
Let me give you an example. During the Iraq War a subsidiary of Halliburton was handling personnel records of American soldiers. It was revealed this auxiliary company was subversively and inappropriately collecting information on servicemen. It was proven, in particular, they were collecting information of soldiers who served in artillery. Artillery officers are known to handle depleted uranium rounds, which in the long term may lead to coming down with cancer. Halliburton was collecting information on who was serving in artillery and sending red flags to other Halliburton subsidiaries to not hire these people as these companies don't want to be saddled with having to pay out medical expenses. Halliburton was not found criminally responsible for sharing medical information, all it sent was red flags and the punishment for that was pretty minor.
Let's deconstruct the flaws with how this information was abused. It's not just the unethical means of black listing American soldiers that's the issue, it's also how the conclusion was reached in determining who gets black flagged. Since this information was handled as a statistical means as to who they thought was most likely to be a medical expense burden to the company, it's not taking into account individual mitigating circumstances. Not every single person in artillery is going to be personally handling depleted uranium shells. Many people serving in artillery units may never see or come across depleted uranium shells. But how Halliburton was collecting this information did not take that into account, for a better safe-than-sorry policy they put a blanket ban on anyone who served in artillery.
Let's say hypothetically purchase information was being monitored in a similar fashion. You live in a house full of six kids, none of whom got their flu shots this year because your local clinic had clerical problems and budget cuts, so flu shots are being reserved for elderly patients before they get around to you. You have six children, they're all sick, and you're in for a long winter. What do you do? Go to the local pharmacy buy a heap of children's flu medication. Two days later the police are kicking down your front door, warrant and all, looking for a meth lab. Your kids are traumatized, your dog has been shot (they always shoot the dog), and there's $1200 damage to your front door the police and municipality have no obligation to pay for. All because you bought three boxes of flu pills. How this information was collected did not take into account mitigating circumstances and employed a blanket better-safe-than-sorry policy to beat down the door of any person who bought enough flu medication in a single purchase to set off a red flag.
One of the problems with how people are reacting to the NSA subversively collecting information on them is the attitude "I'm not doing anything wrong, what do I have to worry about?" It's not just the collecting of information that's the issue, it's how that information can potentially be abused. You don't have to be collecting the ingredients for pipe bombs or a meth lab for that abuse of information to hurt you somehow. You could be doing something completely innocuous every single day that might be hurting you somehow because the information is not just being collected, it's being shared inappropriately and abused.
Why is the assumption that this information is being abused a reasonable one?
For starters we didn't even know this information was being collected in an inappropriate manner until whistleblowers like Edward Snowden revealed it. How do we know what they're doing with it? We don't know. And they're not telling us because of national security. And it's not the examples I thought of that's the real issue. It's very likely what we haven't thought of. The collection of this information can be abused in ways we never thought of. It doesn't have to be part of some grand giant world dominating conspiracy, it could be a bunch of minor things, like selling information to companies what kinds of people frequent social media sites.
The point is everyone should be concerned about their information being collected inappropriately by any kind of agency, foreign or domestic. Because the issue is that information can be used to hurt you in ways you can't imagine no matter what kind of person you are.