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US people fear government spooks

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Most Americans think laws are inadequate in protecting their privacy online. The e-mail or social media accounts of one in five have been broken into and most American consumers take great efforts to mask their identities online, according to a survey by the Pew Internet Centre.

The survey revealed that most Americans have something to hide and that 86 per cent of Americans were trying to scrub their digital footprints by clearing browsing histories, deleting certain social media posts, using virtual networks to conceal their Internet Protocol addresses. There are a few, using encryption tools.

Sara Kiesler, an author of the report and a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh said that the team’s biggest surprise was discovering that many Internet users have tried to conceal their identity or their communications from others.

“It’s not just a small coterie of hackers. Almost everyone has taken some action to avoid surveillance,” she said.

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