Internet Users Taking Measures to Increase Privacy in Huge Numbers
Between the NSA, marketing companies tracking their every move and ISPs spying on behalf of the entertainment industry, Internet users appear to have had enough. According to reporting in the Wall Street Journal, data shows that Internet surfers are increasingly taking measures to protect their privacy online.
What the Numbers Say
A Pew Research Center survey taken in July of 2013 and printed by the WSJ shows that users are fed up and starting to take action to protect their privacy. The statistics show that 68% of Internet users find that the law doesn’t do a good enough job of protecting people’s privacy online. It also shows that an astounding 86% of respondents said that they have taken steps to remove or mask their digital foot prints.
Those actions include easy ones, such as clearing cookies and browser caches, to the tune of 64% of users having said they do at least that much. Users are increasingly turning off cookies on their browsers, deleting posts they’ve made and not using websites that insist on the user providing their real name. A full 18% even report using a fake name or an untraceable name to protect their privacy.
Impressively, 14% of those asked have used a service that provides anonymous browsing to protect their privacy.
Users are also using search engines that are anonymous, such as IXQuick and DuckDuckGo to find what they’re looking for online, avoiding the data mining that Google and Bing engage in.
The article lists the massive spying programs revealed by Edward Snowden as motivating some of this move toward privacy protection, with both of the aforementioned anonymous search engines reporting massive increases in traffic since that information came out.
Protecting Privacy Online
Many of the measures that users reported employing are effective. Making sure you don’t make public posts on social networking sites, using fake names and taking other measures can all help to protect your privacy online.
VPN services provide another layer of privacy protection. Even if you use a fake name or clear your cookies and cache, websites can still tell where you’re coming from and your ISP—and most anyone else who knows how to look—can still see what you’re looking at, downloading or posting. A VPN provides encryption and Snowden, who is largely responsible for prompting users to take privacy more seriously, has said himself that encryption is a good step toward providing better levels of privacy online. Look for VPN providers who do not log for the best in privacy protection. -see our list of VPN Providers here.