Revelation of NSA PRISM Program Generates Strong Growth for Online Privacy Companies
Leading online privacy companies come together to help consumers better secure their personal information and limit data collection
BOSTON, June 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — The uproar over the PRISM program has cast a negative light on the NSA and participating companies like Google and Apple, but it has resulted in significant growth for online privacy companies. As consumers have learned more about how private companies and public surveillance vacuum up much of their personal data, use of privacy tools from companies like Abine, DuckDuckGo, FoxyProxy, and others has skyrocketed. Those companies have now come together to help consumers better protect their privacy by making it easier to find and implement privacy tools and by supporting Mozilla’s “Call.StopWatching.Us” campaign.
During the week of June 10, the week following Edward Snowden’s revelation of the existence of the NSA PRISM program, online privacy company Abine experienced a 54 percent increase in week-over-week installs of its popular DoNotTrackMe tracker-blocking browser add-on. This growth grew stronger every day of the week, reaching a 98 percent increase in installs on Friday, June 14, over the previous Friday. During a similar time period, DuckDuckGo saw a strong increase in use of its privacy-friendly search engine of 55 percent. Visitors can view DuckDuckGo’s continued growth in near real-time at duckduckgo.com/traffic.html. “We saw a 48% increase in the bandwidth our global subscribers were using on our Virtual Private Network (VPN) service after the NSA story broke,” said FoxyProxy founder Eric Jung.
Although no single solution exists to stop NSA surveillance, greater privacy means reducing the amount of data that private companies collect about individuals, because those companies are legally compelled to provide it to agencies like the NSA. “Right now, we are seeing a strong uptick in awareness and action as consumers seek out effective solutions to limit the digital trail they leave online,” said Gabriel Weinberg, CEO and founder of DuckDuckGo. “We are pleased to be working with other leading privacy companies to help consumers make permanent changes to their online behavior that better protect their privacy now and in the future.”
Today, Abine, DuckDuckGo, and FoxyProxy also announced that they will be collaborating on an initiative to continue raising awareness of online privacy issues among the general public, industry leaders and government officials, and policy makers. Initially, they are supporting Mozilla’s “Call.StopWatching.Us” campaign and petition to provide greater transparency into the NSA’s programs involving spying on U.S. citizens. Mozilla has also included them in a privacy-focused collection of Firefox browser add-ons to help consumers more easily create the secure, private Web experience they desire.
“After the NSA’s PRISM program was uncovered, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of how much of their personal information is collected, stored, and accessed,” stated William Kerrigan, CEO of Abine. “They’re realizing that it only takes one person to accidentally or intentionally release that data to the world with potentially devastating impact. We are glad to be working closely with our fellow privacy peers to help shine a light on these issues and give people easy-to-use tools to better protect their privacy.”
Abine provides consumers with online privacy solutions that are innovative, easy to use, and work for everyday web users. With proven tools, Abine enables people to both benefit from the Web and retain control over their personal information. Abine is backed by premier venture capital firms Atlas Venture and General Catalyst Partners. Abine: Online Privacy Starts Here(TM). Abine.com.
DuckDuckGo is a general purpose search engine that focuses on an overall better search experience with more instant answers, less spam and real privacy. When you search on DuckDuckGo you are anonymous. DuckDuckGo was founded by Gabriel Weinberg in 2008 and funded by Union Square Ventures in 2011. More at https://duckduckgo.com/press/
Since 2006, FoxyProxy has provided free and low-cost privacy-enhancing software and services. The company specializes in dedicated, fast, redundant, load-balanced proxy and VPN servers, which are keys tools in most any modern privacy-related toolbox.
Gerald Kimber White