Post Snowden, most users have changed Internet habits

On the heels of Edward Snowden’s advice to switch from Dropbox, Facebook and Google to services that place a high priority on security and privacy, F-Secure is releasing survey results that show that many people are willing to do just that.

The survey, which polled 4,800 people in the the US, UK, France, Germany, Brazil and the Philippines, also shows that a majority of people have changed some of their Internet habits in recent months due to increased privacy concerns.

In a recent video interview, whistleblower Snowden cautioned viewers, saying such major Internet services are dangerous and should be avoided. And in fact, 53% of survey respondents said they’d be willing to switch from services like Google to other more private services to avoid search-based profiling.

56% of people also said they have become more wary of US-based Internet services in the past year. 46% of people said they would be willing to pay to be sure that none of their personal data transits via the US. And 70% said they are concerned about the potential of mass surveillance by intelligence agencies in countries through which their data may be passing.

68% of respondents said they try to protect their privacy at least some of the time through the use of private browsing or incognito mode or by encrypting their communications. And 57% of people said they are not okay with companies using their profile data in exchange for getting a free service.

Germany, Brazil and the Philippines showed some of the highest levels of concern about data privacy. As an example, when asked whether they’ve changed some of their Internet habits in recent months due to increased concerns about data privacy, an average of 56% of people said they had: 45% in the UK, 47% in the US, and 49% in France, and going even higher to 60% in Germany and 67% in both Brazil and the Philippines.

“The results of the survey show that the opinion climate is changing” says Samu Konttinen, Executive Vice President, Consumer Security at F-Secure. “People are concerned, the messages are getting through. The security industry is a trust game and many of our peers are now compromised. For people who are ready to start using more private, secure services, F-Secure has some great options and we have no back doors to anyone.” F-Secure, a 26-year veteran of the security industry, also hails from Finland, a country with strong privacy laws.

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