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Overwhelming majority of web users have tried covering their digital tracks

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PGP encryption key
PGP encryption key

Pew Research Center recently conducted a survey with 792 web users, and found that the urge for privacy is more common than it seems. A full 86 percent of respondents had covered their digital tracks in some way, whether it was with encryption software or simply by using a browser's incognito mode, although only 14 percent went as far as using Tor or VPN proxy servers to cover their tracks. More telling, a full 68 percent of responders said current laws were not doing a good enough job protecting privacy online, suggesting a growing base for new legislation. As one study author told The New York Times, "it's not just a small coterie of hackers. Almost everyone has taken some action to avoid surveillance."

Beyond fears of active surveillance, the study also revealed concerns about the sheer volume of personal details that are publicly available. A full half of internet users are worried about the quantity of their personal data that's online, up from 33 percent in 2009, and 12 percent reported being stalked or harrassed through the web. “Users clearly want the option of being anonymous online," said Lee Rainie, director of Pew’s Internet Project, "and [they] increasingly worry that this is not possible."