New reports show that Internet users are taking more and more steps to safeguard their privacy and that fully 25% of all Internet users worldwide are now using Internet privacy tools to protect their personal information from being recorded or tracked in some way.
The report from GlobalWebIndex estimates that 28% of Internet users, which equates to approximately 415 million people, are now using tools that “cover their online tracks” when using the internet. The survey also found that 56% of internet users are under the impression that their personal privacy is being eroded by Internet use.
The study involved approximately 170,000 users and found that, among 11% of them, the anonymity software Tor was being used to protect them from spying, in particular the NSA. It was also found that the highest increase in use of these tools was in Indonesia, Vietnam and India.
Interestingly, the huge increase in privacy tools used in China shows that the number of people using Facebook and Twitter is much higher than previously thought. It was estimated that among the Chinese, 34% were somehow hiding their online identity. The reason, as far as the study shows, is to use YouTube (60%) and to gain access to social networks as previously mentioned (55%).
Behaviorally, the Global Web Index showed that Facebook was still the number one social site in the world at 1.1 billion active users, going against the recent reports that they were losing their popularity among younger Internet users.