(MCCLATCHYDC) — What can people do to protect their privacy from massive data-mining efforts by U.S. and other intelligence services? The answer is not much, short of going off the grid completely.

Reports in The Washington Post and the Guardian newspapers this week allege that the government has been secretly accessing the phone records of tens of millions of Verizon customers, as well as online videos, emails, photos and other data collected by nine Internet service providers.

Privacy advocates say most consumers long ago swapped privacy for convenience, but few realize the degree to which their digital activities are being tracked.

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