Half of Americans have changed browsing habits due to NSA spying

Posted Apr 4, 2014 by James Walker
It would appear as though leaks by the US whistle-blower Edward Snowden last year about how the NSA snooped on the browsing habits of hundreds of thousands of Americans has actually caused people to take notice and be actively more secure online.
A picture of Snowden  a contractor at the NSA  is seen on a computer screen displaying a page of a C...
A picture of Snowden, a contractor at the NSA, is seen on a computer screen displaying a page of a Chinese news website, in Beijing in this photo illustration
� Jason Lee / Reuters, Reuters
A recent Harris poll asked over 2000 US adults aged 18 years and older whether they had actively changed their attitude towards online security as a consequence of the controversy surrounding the NSA's actions. 47% of respondents said that they had changed their behaviour and now considered with much more care what they did and said online.
Unfortunately, this new fear by ordinary people of the NSA's actions appears to be a negative thing for businesses as 26% of respondents - over a quarter - said that they were so worried about government surveillance that they now did significantly less online banking and shopping than before the files leaked by Edward Snowden were published. This is especially bad news for companies who rely or sustained use of the internet for their business model to perform efficiently.
The study also claims that over 85% of American citizens are now familiar with the extent of the internet surveillance enforced by the government or at the very least understand the basics and, more importantly, that it is an unfair action or, in Eric Schmidt's words from Google, a "hostile attack" on the model of free, unregulated use of the internet for all endorsed by the hacktivist group Anonymous and the creator the web: Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
In any case, what is now certain is that the NSA's spying has caused anxiety not just amongst techy geeks but also amidst the general public who are now actively boycotting services where security is of paramount importance in order to relieve themselves of the government's gaze.