Snowden taught companies something

Edward_SnowdenAfter years of ignoring warnings from experts, companies and individuals started to take security more seriously after the Snowden leaks, according to a new survey.

More than 39 per cent have taken steps to protect their online privacy and security because of spying revelations by one-time NSA employee Edward Snowden, according to the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).

The survey found that 43 percent of Internet users now avoid certain websites and applications and 39 percent change their passwords regularly.

The survey reached 23,376 internet users in 24 countries and was conducted between October 7 and November  12.

More than 39  percent of those surveyed indicated they are taking steps to safeguard their online data from government prying eyes.

Writing in his blog, Security specialist Bruce Schneier said that Snowden’s whistleblowing on the NSA is having an enormous impact.

“I ran the actual numbers country by country, combining data on Internet penetration with data from this survey. Multiplying everything out, I calculate that 706 million people have changed their behavior on the Internet because of what the NSA and GCHQ [a British intelligence and security organization] are doing.”

This means that two-thirds of users indicated they are more concerned today about online privacy than they were a year ago. When given a choice of various governance sources to effectively run the world-wide Internet, a majority chose the multi-stakeholder option — a “combined body of technology companies, engineers, non-governmental organizations and institutions that represent the interests and will of ordinary citizens, and governments.”

A majority indicated they would also trust an international body of engineers and technical experts to store their online data, while only 36 percent of users would trust the United States to play an important role in running the Internet.

Nearly three-quarters of the Internet users surveyed indicated they want their online data and personal information to be physically stored on a secure server in their own country.

Those surveyed also indicated that 64 percent are concerned about government censorship of the Internet and 62 percent are worried about government agencies from countries other than the US secretly monitoring their online activities

Another notable finding was that 83 percent of people believe that affordable access to the internet should be a basic human right.