Encrypted Traffic Surges in Wake of NSA Revelations

Networking hardware hardware manufacturer Sandvine has released a new research report claiming that since the Edward Snowden leaks first started in June of 2013, encrypted web traffic has doubled in some countries, and nearly tripled in others.

The number of users flocking to alternative connection methods like VPN providers, web proxies, and Tor has soared in the months following the first set of documents released to the Guardian about Verizon’s cooperation in the very first hints of what would eventually become the PRISM scandal. People who view the programs as a severe violation of personal privacy have decided to voice their opinion through the continued use of anonymity software and transfer protocols that can mask their identity and keep the content of their communications safe from outside eyes.

Prior to the leaks, only 2.29 percent of all traffic at peak hours in North America was encrypted, and in just a few weeks after that number had swelled to just around 3.8. The increases were first noticed by Ernesto Van Der Sar, the pseudonymous founder of the Torrent Freak blog.

“Since overall internet traffic increased as well, the increase is even greater for the absolute bandwidth that’s consumed,” Van Der Sar wrote.

The reason we haven’t seen as great of a surge in this country isn’t exactly certain, especially considering most of the programs currently in place are more often being pointed inward than anywhere else. Europe was only slightly ahead after coming from behind, with a jump from 1.8 percent to a respectable 6.10 , putting them about four shy of the top dog in this race, Latin America.

The primary cause for their massive boost in stats is due to Brazil’s newfound distrust of the United States and Britain and their blanket surveillance programs, which was apparently sucking up the details of over nine million of their citizens on a monthly basis.

Brazil soared from 1.8 percent to over 10.37, showing that it’s possible to take privacy and security seriously and spur people into treating it as so.

Also, a lot of what we’re seeing in those figures could be due to the massive shift both Google and Facebook implemented when they fully secured every part of their website underneath the HTTPS connection protocol. After Gmail and the social networking website both started using the encryption method to safeguard their users, those percentage points shot up across the board, regardless of country, region, or continent.

Even then, six percent of everyone isn’t exactly a lot, but it’s still double of what it used to be and a good sign for the direction we could see the rest of the Internet community going as these encryption solutions become more widely available and economical to employ on a massive scale.

If we can convince more webmasters to convert to solutions like HTTPS or , we can continue to grow the Internet as an encrypted entity rather than the Wild West mentality that got us here to start with.