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    New York Times: Seeking Online Refuge From Spying Eyes

    The New York Times considers the increasing surveillance of everyday life, as opposed to targeted surveillance of suspected criminals, such as increasing numbers of networked surveillance cameras, profiles built by gathering online and offline data on individuals, the NSA domestic surveillance scandal, and the tracking of individuals’ online habits. The Times reports on what individuals are doing to try to protect themselves from such surveillance:

    These developments, among others, have spurred the creation of a handful of applications and services intended to give people respite and refuge from surveillance, both online and off. They have a simple and common goal: to create ways for people to use the Internet and to communicate online without surveillance. […]

    If nothing else, the N.S.A. leaks and disclosures have brought these issues front and center for many people, myself included, who are troubled by how much of our daily and online interaction is concentrated in and around a handful of companies that have funneled data to the N.S.A.

    “It’s sad that this is the proverbial kick in the butt that needs to bring awareness to this concept,” said Harlo Holmes, who works for the Guardian Project, a group that is building several anti-surveillance and privacy applications.

    Ms. Holmes says interest has been surging in the Guardian Project’s services, which include tools that let people make phone calls over the Internet which the organization says cannot be recorded. More than a million people have downloaded an app called Orbot that allows users to send e-mails anonymously through mobile devices. […]

    She says the Guardian Project and its peers are built for people who live under governments that don’t allow access to the Web or to certain apps, as well as for people who simply don’t like the idea of their online activity being tracked and monitored. Ms. Holmes says that most of the tools are used by people in totalitarian states. […]

    But those who work on these services say they don’t have to compete directly with the Facebooks, Twitters and Googles of the world. They just have to offer an alternative, independent space where people can interact if and when they need to. […]

    Of course, there is no guarantee that the Guardian Project, [Cryptocat] project, or any others like it are safe from being broken into by a government or a hacker or another entity. But [Nadim Kobeissi, a security adviser in Montreal who works on an encrypted-message service called Cryptocat,] said that there was an upside to all of the disturbing security disclosures: at least now, he said, the security world can deal with the information disclosed in leaks “on a per-revelation basis” to make its own offerings stronger and more secure.

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