What the government knows about you from cellphones, Internet, and e-mail

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This week’s disclosure that the federal government tracks cellphone records and taps into Internet databases are only the latest evidence that American society — increasingly reliant on social media, “cloud”-based computer files and ubiquitous cellphones — is being tracked like never before, partly due to efforts to stop terrorism.

Even though the government typically needs search warrants to ferret out the most personal information, the warrant process has become more secretive, ramping up the debate over how far the government should go in spying on the citizenry.

President Obama responded Friday at a press conference, saying that “nobody is listening to your telephone calls.”

But he cautioned that concessions must be made because the federal government’s top priority is to protect the country from terrorist attacks.

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