I think quite strongly that web surfing privacy is a right we should all have. I personally do not have any time for those "you wouldn't care unless you had something to hide" type arguments.
It's because of the vast power of personal information, which is why our Governments set up databases on us, Retailers record our spending patterns, Search engines record our search patterns and CCTVs record our every move. When you think about it there's very little we get to do in private ! We certainly don't have any web surfing privacy - even if we disregard the records left on our own PCs as soon as we request a web page it is logged in several place.
Our ISP has a log of every email we send, every file we download, every picture we view and every web page we visit. This is why Governments use this information, which is why there is a European and a similar US directive pending to force ISPs to record this data for two years.
What could I find out about a person from 2 years of web, email and message logs ?
An awful lot, this information has a huge value to it to many parties from retailers to identity thieves. All can profit from it, but of course to a Government it is extremely valuable to - in an undemocratic society it could be used to target political opponents, spy on anyone - the old East German Police - the infamous Stasi would have loved the internet !
Anyway I want to leave my soap box for a minute especially as my web browsing is completely secure from the government nosey parkers recording my ISP logs because it is all encrypted by Identity Cloaker.
There's another important factor to be anonymous though - we have to be careful about what sort of data we deliberately leave on the internet. For instance many people don't even realise they are using an internet connected server - do a search on google for this term "index.of.dcim" and you'll see a huge list of dumps from digital cameras - I wonder how many people know they have done this ?
Web surfing privacy needs to practised otherwise we have nothing, personally I don't wish to share all my personal photos with everyone on the internet but hey that might just be me.
Avid users of social networking sites like facebook, loose talking bloggers anyone who posts personal information online would be surprised on the detailed picture you can build with all this information.
All an identity thieve needs is a short time monitoring the web sites you visit, a few account details and they have enough to steal your identity. Whether it's directly stealing from your account or applying for credit in your name you know it's going to cost you plenty.
Be careful - web surfing privacy is something you need to protect.