Nearly 9 out-of-10 Americans have heard of Edward Snowden and the NSA leaks, but only 34% of people have taken at least one step to shield their information, according to a Pew Research Center study released today.
Almost two years after Snowden made his initial revelations, Pew has published a study in which they asked Americans what they thought of the government surveillance programs that Snowden revealed, and whether they have altered their online activities and communication habits since they have learned details of the surveillance.
More than half of Americans are worried about the U.S. government’s digital spies prying into their emails, texts, search requests and other online information, but as previously stated only 34% of people have taken steps to shield their information. Of the Americans who have heard of the leaks, 25% say they’ve changed how they use technology “a great deal” or “somewhat” since Snowden publicized the surveillance.
The discrepancy in the percentage of Americans who are worried about digital spies and the percentage who took steps to protect themselves is surprising. One possible explanation as to why more people have not taken steps to protect themselves is that 54% of people believe it would be “somewhat” or “very” difficult to find tools and strategies that would help them be more private online. In actuality, that is not the case at all.
Here are 5 steps you can take to easily be more private online.
- Search privately: Use DuckDuckGo or Abine’s Private Search to protect yourself from Google’s prying eyes.
- Encrypt your email with tools like Pretty Good Privacy. PGP scrambles your emails, making them impossible to read by anyone who doesn’t have the encryption key.
- Stop companies from tracking your browsing with Blur. Simply add the browser extension to block over 500 individual tracking companies.
- Use TOR browser to protect yourself from network surveillance and traffic analysis.
- Mask your personal information. Stop giving out your real personal information online. Use Masked information instead.
Are you worried about the NSA spying? If so, have you taken steps to protect your information online?