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Some Americans are adapting their online habits in an attempt to keep the federal government from snooping.
A Pew Research Center survey released today shows that 57 percent of us find it unacceptable that the government monitors U.S. citizens’ communications.
For those seeking to distance themselves from Big Brother while surfing the Web, The Associated Press Associated Press technology writer Michael Liedtkeap offered several tips today:
1. Encrypt your email
Eighteen percent of people polled by the Pew Research Center said they’ve changed how they use email accounts “somewhat” or a “great deal,” with 2 percent having adopted email encryption programs like Pretty Good Privacy (PGP).
According to the AP:
“Encryption programs such as Pretty Good Privacy, or PGP, can make your email appear indecipherable to anyone without the digital key to translate the gibberish. This can help prevent highly sensitive financial and business information from getting swept up by hackers as well as a government dragnet.”
2. Use a different browser
Seventeen percent of people have changed how they use search engines, with 10 percent having used a search engine that doesn’t keep track of their search history.
Popular search engines like Google collect your search queries for advertising purposes, but that means it’s possible the NSA could get hold of the data for its purposes. DuckDuckGo is among search engines that promise not to collect or share personal information.
3. Go old-school
Fourteen percent of people have spoken more in person instead of communicating online or over the phone, and 8 percent have spoken more by phone instead of communicating online.
4. Cover your tracks
Five percent of people have added privacy-enhancing browser plug-ins like Blur (formerly known as DoNotTrackMe) or Privacy Badger.
Blur allows users to surf the Web without being tracked. According to the AP:
“It also masks passwords and credit card information entered on computers and mobile devices so they can’t be lifted from the databases of the websites that collect them.”
Abine’s Blur will cost you $39 per year, but the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Privacy Badger blocks tracking of browsing activity for free.
5. Educate yourself
The AP reports that two of the most comprehensive guides to digital privacy can be found through the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Surveillance Self-Defense site and through the PRISM Break project.
Are you worried about the NSA tracking you? What programs do you use to prevent it? Sounds off in a comment below or on Facebook.