86% Have Tried to Hide Online (and Brazil takes the first step)

So much for “people don’t care about privacy.” 86% of people have taken at least the most basic steps to try and keep their activities on the web private — possibly as simple as clearing their browser history and cookies, or all the way up to using encrypted VPNs, proxy services, or anonymity networks.

The majority of people (55%) have tried to keep their movements hidden from a specific person or group (like hackers, crooks, or advertisers). A smaller number were trying to hide from people they knew. (Only a total of 9% admitted to trying to hide from the police or government.)

Political orientation doesn’t appear to matter, either. Liberals were just as privacy conscious as conservatives.
Brazil: Brazil has announced they’ll be taking significant measures to reduce US spying, including laying cables directly to Europe and building some home-grown encrypted email services. No, they won’t solve the problem entirely (those cables will get undersea taps almost as soon as they go in) but they will help a lot — I strongly suspect the bandwidth to an undersea tap is a hell of a lot less than what you can get by tapping on land.

The article is liberally salted with “the US way is better” propaganda quotes — it IS a US publication — but still manages to miss the *actual* downside: Brazil may be a great country, but they do have an active internal security apparatus that has made some moves towards reducing privacy recently. (Nothing like BULLRUN/LOVEINT, of course. Stuff like ANPR and mandatory RFID tags on cars. Whether they’re on the trail of a man named Tuttle is unclear.)

Therefore, the trick will be to implement make-life-tougher-for-the-gringos-in-Ft-Meade measures without centralizing all the data and making it easier for the locals to pry into people’s personal lives. http://www.networkworld.com/news/2013/090513-almost-90-percent-of-internet-273497.html?source=nww_rss


“While 86 percent of the Internet users polled said they made some attempt hide what they do online, more than half of the Web users also said they have taken steps to avoid observation by organizations, specific people or the government, according to the survey.

The survey’s findings are based on telephone interviews among a sample of 1,002 adults, age 18 or older in July, with 792 Internet users among the respondents.

People use a variety of measures to decrease their online visibility, the study showed. The most popular one is clearing cookie and browser history, which 64 percent of Internet users polled said they did. Forty-one percent said they deleted or edited something they had posted in the past and 41 percent said they disabled or turned off their browsers’ use of cookies, Pew said.

Other measures taken to cloak online activity were not using websites that asked to disclose a user’s real name (36 percent of users polled), using a temporary user name or email address (26 percent), posting comments without revealing who you are (25 percent). Twenty-one percent of the Internet users polled said they had asked others to remove something that was posted about them.

Some Internet users also use public computers to browse and give inaccurate information about themselves, while 14 percent said they at times encrypt email and 14 percent said they use services like virtual networks or proxy servers such as Tor anonymity software, which allow them to browse without being tied to a specific IP address, the survey found.

Beyond general measures taken to go online more or less anonymously, the majority of Internet users polled (55 percent) have tried to avoid observation by specific people or groups. “Hackers, criminals and advertisers are at the top of the list of groups people wish to avoid,” Pew said.

But a minority of Web users said they tried to hide their online activities from certain friends, people form their past, family members or partners as well as their employers, coworkers, supervisors, companies, people that might want payment for downloaded files and to a lesser extent the government (5 percent) and law enforcement (4 percent).

However, despite these precautions 21 percent of the online adults polled said they have had an email or social media account hijacked and 11 percent said they have had vital information like Social Security numbers, bank account data, or credit cards stolen. “

%d bloggers like this: