The Impact of Edward Snowden

As if anybody had any questions about whether or not Edward Snowden’s actions resulted in a safer Internet we now have a survey with some interesting results:

There’s a new international survey on Internet security and trust, of “23,376 Internet users in 24 countries,” including “Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States.” Amongst the findings, 60% of Internet users have heard of Edward Snowden, and 39% of those “have taken steps to protect their online privacy and security as a result of his revelations.”


I ran the actual numbers country by country, combining data on Internet penetration with data from this survey. Multiplying everything out, I calculate that 706 million people have changed their behavior on the Internet because of what the NSA and GCHQ are doing. (For example, 17% of Indonesians use the Internet, 64% of them have heard of Snowden and 62% of them have taken steps to protect their privacy, which equals 17 million people out of its total 250-million population.)

After we learned about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) massive domestic spying program a lot of people who previously didn’t care about security suddenly began showing an interest. I saw this firsthand when participating in several local CryptoParties. Past attempts to even get enough people to bother throwing one failed miserably but after Snowden let us all in on the game interest spiked. I’m still busy assisting people interested in computer security because of Snowden. And that’s just individuals who developer a personal interest. Many companies have greatly increased their security including Google, Apple, and Microsoft.

In addition to better security Snowden’s leaks have also been good for agorism.

So I think it’s pretty clear that Snowden’s actions ended up benefiting us all greatly.