After the Snowden leaks, 700M move to avoid NSA spying

Nearly 700 million people worldwide have taken steps to ensure their privacy from NSA surveillance, according to an international survey on Internet security and trust.

An international survey of Internet users has found that more than 39% have taken steps to protect their online privacy and security as a result of spying revelations by one-time NSA employee Edward Snowden.

The survey, conducted by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), found that 43% of Internet users now avoid certain websites and applications and 39% change their passwords regularly.

The survey reached 23,376 Internet users in 24 countries and was conducted between Oct. 7 and Nov. 12.

The countries in the survey included Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan and the United States.

Cryptographer and computer security specialist Bruce Schneier lamented how the survey's findings have been portrayed, with some pointing out how few people were affected by Snowden's actions or even know his name.

"The press is mostly spinning this as evidence that Snowden has not had an effect: "merely 39%," "only 39%," and so on," Schneier wrote in a blog.

The news articles, "are completely misunderstanding the data," Schneier said, pointing to the fact that the survey found that 39% of Internet users in the world have heard of Snowden.

Snowden's whistleblowing on the NSA is having an enormous impact, Schneier wrote.

"I ran the actual numbers country by country, combining data on Internet penetration with data from this survey. Multiplying everything out, I calculate that 706 million people have changed their behavior on the Internet because of what the NSA and GCHQ [a British intelligence and security organization] are doing.

Two-thirds (64%) of users indicated they are more concerned today about online privacy than they were a year ago. When given a choice of various governance sources to effectively run the world-wide Internet, a majority (57%) chose the multi-stakeholder option -- a "combined body of technology companies, engineers, non-governmental organizations and institutions that represent the interests and will of ordinary citizens, and governments."

A majority (54%) indicated they would also trust an international body of engineers and technical experts to store their online data, while only 36% of users would trust the United States to play an important role in running the Internet.

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of the Internet users surveyed indicated they want their online data and personal information to be physically stored on a secure server in their own country.

Those surveyed also indicated that 64% are concerned about government censorship of the Internet and 62% are worried about government agencies from countries other than the U.S. secretly monitoring their online activities

Sixty-one percent indicated they are concerned about police or other government agencies from their own country secretly monitoring their online activities.

Another notable finding: that 83% of users believe that affordable access to the Internet should be a basic human right.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Centre for International Governance Innovationsecuritynsadata privacyprivacy

More about GCHQNSA

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Lucas Mearian

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place