"Business purposes" is the answer we get when asking corporate executives about information gathering. How much information gathering is going on? Plenty and the increase of information gathering is staggering. Is anyone keeping track?
For example Google's Gmail scans customers' e-mail content and delivers targeted ads based on interests and buying patterns. If you write someone with a Gmail account your messgae will be scanned and stored. In 2004 a federal appeals court ruled that companies providing e-mail service may read clients' e-mail and use it as they wish. Phone calls can be recorded legally only by a court order, however e-mails are available to industry and the government.
In APril of 2004 the Department of Homeland Security awarded a contract to Northrup Grumman for up to $350 million dollars to build a "network of networks" to connect all levels of government. The government is tying government networks together in a supernetwork controlled by a super-agency. The technologies IT controls can be used for good or evil. The moral dimensions must be considered and the potential for abuse recognized.