At any time a government body can log into almost any device, your computer, phone, tablet, even some car electronics and snoop freely.
They can activate the microphone and listen to you, activate the camera and watch.
I've always suspected that this could be true and now through Edward Snowden and other researchers we know it to be true.
Facebook, gmail, hotmail, yahoo, Apple and Microsoft products open the doors to these powers.
A few years ago I chose to use lavabit as my mail provider, it was simple and effective and they encrypt your mail. I didn't do this as I have anything to hide, I did it because I look for peace of mind.
Often I use email for very important things, day to day things, but important. A compromised email account gives the attacker the power to impersonate you and so take control of your bank account or relationships with other companies or people. This is unwanted so I'd expect most people to see a good secure email is a key to a secure on-line world.
Anyway - Unbeknown to me and many other users, I presume it turned out that Edward Snowden used lavabit too!
All of the email on lavabit is encrypted and just lately the authorities asked the owner if they could have access. He had the choice, break a promise to his users and provide access to all their data, or close his service.
He chose to close down: thus leaving the data secure but locking anyone, even the users, from accessing it. Now users like myself have to go through the process of writing to everyone from family to work to every institution we deal with and supplying them with a new email address.
Not sure the Tao Te Ching has a chapter on this?
You can check out Ta-Wan's other musings here.