Post-Snowden Paranoia Causes Changes in Communication

“Just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they are not out to get you.”

Since Edward Snowden’s revelations about the domestic surveillance activities of the NSA and other US and foreign government agencies, it turns out that many people have changed their online and telephone communication behavior.  accord to a recent post on Sophos:

“Out of those surveyed who are at least somewhat aware of the NSA’s surveillance programs (30% of adults), 34% have taken at least one step to keep their information hidden or shielded from the government.

Specifically, here’s what they’re doing:

  • 25% are using more complex passwords
  • 17% changed their privacy settings on social media
  • 15% use social media less often
  • 15% have avoided certain apps
  • 13% have uninstalled apps
  • 14% say they speak more in person instead of communicating online or on the phone
  • 13% have avoided using certain terms in online communications

Another 25% of those aware of the surveillance programs (22% of surveyed adults) have changed how they interact with communication technology “a great deal” or “somewhat”.


  • 18% say they’ve changed the way they use email
  • 17% have changed the way they use search engines
  • 15% say they have changed the way they use social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook
  • 15% have changed the way they use their cell phones”

And the government continues to clamor for more access, and to denounce communication security tools such as encryption.  Some of the things you could be doing to protect yourself from surveillance include using encrypted email, using a search engine that does not track and record your activities, and using a web browser that connects through a proxy server, such as the Epic Privacy Browser or TOR.  It doesn’t matter if you have “nothing to hide.”  They have no right to look, and if we quietly accept this activity as the cost of doing business in the age of terrorism, they we will eventually be living in a police state no different than North Korea.


About the Author:

I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at

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