Ever since a seemingly innocuous IT contractor from an NSA facility in Hawaii made off with more than one million documents which damned the agency for its spying tactics on citizens, the internet and the world has been abuzz with the desire for a more secure way to connect to the internet while staying as anonymous as possible in the process.
Recently a survey of 107,000 internet users suggested that the usage of VPN services has skyrocketed in the time that the Snowden leaks have been a part of the public discussion, showcasing the average net connoisseur’s requests to be left alone while they listlessly browse around the web and communicate with acquaintances through email and social networking hubs.
Along with VPNs, an increasing number of internet customers are turning to relay networks such as Tor, which claims 45 million users to its name, or 11% of all users currently connecting today.
One huge subset of consumers of VPN services are apparently coming from the dragon lying dormant just one short flight over the Pacific, with China accounting for close to 35% of all global encrypted traffic.
Because the Chinese Communist Party employs two million “internet analysis” employees who are dedicated to the task of actively filtering the content that comes in and goes out of the country, any materials which may dissuade members of the party in their dedication are quickly censored by the “Great Firewall of China”, and many expats and students in the region are known to use VPNs to circumvent the all-encompassing bear hug of their host government.
Other major customers include Indonesia, Vietnam, and India, who are purported to employ popular providers in order to skirt the country restrictions that would otherwise prevent them from viewing particular types of content on websites like YouTube or Netflix.
“Figures suggest that the global internet audience is a lot savvier and more concerned about this type of thing than is traditionally supposed, and chimes with the statistic that 55% are concerned about their privacy being eroded by the internet.”
The statistics also reaffirm the suspicion that more users were switching their primary messaging services from classical offerings via their respective networks, to the likes of apps such as WhatsApp and WeChat. These Wi-Fi-based text messaging platforms offer a more secure method of communicating with friends and family that don’t require you to concern yourself with what the telcos might be doing with the data after the fact.
All in all, the sentiment that this trend sends to the upper establishment is promising, and makes it clear the movement for increased personal privacy won’t be going away anytime soon.
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