American vigilance over online privacy on the rise following NSA leaks

By on September 5, 2013, 5:15 PM
nsa, united states, privacy, pew, anonymous internet access

There are few things Americans can mostly agree on but apparently anonymity on the Internet – or lack thereof – is one of them. A recent study conducted by Pew Research Center found that most users like the idea of anonymously surfing the web but realize such a luxury simply isn’t possible.

In the wake of whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations concerning the incredible power the US government has over electronic communication, a staggering 86 percent of respondents said they have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints which includes clearing cookies and encrypting e-mail.

Digging deeper, 55 percent of Internet users claim to have taken steps to avoid observation by specific people, organizations or the government. It’s all with good reason it seems as a number of survey takers say they have experienced problems because others stole their personal information or otherwise took advantage of their visibility online.

Of those that fell into the latter category, 21 percent said they have had an e-mail or social networking account compromised or taken over without their permission, 12 percent have been stalked or harassed online and 11 percent have had important information like their social security number, credit card or banking information stolen.

Pew’s findings are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from July 11-14, among a sample of 1,002 adults ages 18 and older and from 792 Internet and smartphone users.

User Comments: 5

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hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

"Digging deeper, 55 percent of Internet users claim to have taken steps to avoid observation by specific people, organizations or the government."

Yea, um... ok. It took Snowden to make us aware, and it will take another Snowden to tell us what we are doing is working.

Until then, I pity da fools that think they are still not being watched.

RzmmDX said:

SOPA, no longer necessary!

jephthah said:

Though I think this survey is done in U.S cause e US has power over electronic communicatn .

I think this must done maybe in e developing countries,since those in these countries most don't have

e knownleg in electronic communicatn they always found theirself in e wonderland.

Maybe comparing with U.S Vigilance over online privacy which is compromising people lives can solve

with a permanent solution.,,

Guest said:

I don't have anything serious to hide. But I hate the idea of everything I do being recorded and corporations and governments building profiles around me. Something as simple as finding an ingrown hair and thinking I might have an std, I don't want that search recorded. It's ridiculous.

I got rid of Facebook almost 3 years ago and I began using to search instead of Google. But after the Edward Snowden leak it became very apparent I wasn't doing enough to protect my right to privacy. I've gone full tinfoil hat mode. ;p

I have started using a zero log VPN. I ditched Windows in favour of Linux due to NSA backdoors found in Windows. I have begun to configure Firefox to prevent tracking and browser fingerprinting.

I use a secure connection when available via HTTPS-Everywhere and HTTPS Finder. I have randomly spoofed headers with each web request via SecretAgent. I have disabled all plugins except for Flash. I have third party cookies and flash cookies disabled. I have cookies auto deleted as soon as I close a tab via Self-Destructing Cookies. I have anti-tracking via, RequestPolicy, Smart Referer, and Adblock Plus with EasyList, EasyPrivacy, and Fanboy's Social Blocking lists. I only use java script  on sites I trust via Noscript.

I also have Ubuntu set a random mac-address and computer name (hostname) each time I reboot. And I have my hosts file updated with the latest from and

Essentially I am fighting for my privacy as best I know how. I only use Gmail for certain web accounts, no personal email anymore. I plan to switch to StartMail once the public beta begins.

To post on Techspot however, for their captchas to work I have to use Chromium, but I don't mind as they allow me to post as a Guest.

Guest said:

In my opinion, NSA is not keeping up with the information technology and what it can be done in terms of spying. For what it has been reported in the news that NSA did, it's not even close to what kind of access other big companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Visa etc. have access to. Google can tell exactly where I've been for the past two years, who and what I've been talking to, what I've read, ate, when I slept and so forth. And the microphone and camera I'm always carrying with me in my Android phone, are rather at Google's mercy and not the NSA, first hand, as in being intercepted, if they wanted to.

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