U.S. Government project PRISM allows the government to tap phone calls, email, and web browsing of any citizen without a warrant.
New metrics from The Tor Project show that, the usage of Tor Browser is increasing day by day due to the fact that internet users are getting more and more inclined in keeping their online activity isolated from internet surveillance programs like US Prism.
Tor was launched in 2004 and developed by the U.S. Navy, is used by governments, activists, journalists and dissidents to conceal their online activities from prying eyes.
The TOR online anonymity service has exploded since early June, up more than 100 percent, from just over 500,000 global users to more than 1.2 million. Of those 600,000 new users, roughly ten percent are from the United States.
India's Tor usage also has gone off the charts, jumping from just 7,500 daily users to more than 32,000. While the free-to-use Tor platform remains the most popular way to protect your online identity, many people choose to use commercial Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), primarily because of their faster connection speeds.
As a result, privacy-centered Internet services such as the search engine DuckDuckGo and email provider Hushmail have seen a surge in traffic.
On August 8th, Lavabit and Silent Circle's Silent Mail two secure mail servers shut their doors rather than allow access to the U.S. Government.
US intelligence cyber missions include the defense of military and other classified computer networks against foreign attack. US intelligence carried out 231 offensive cyber-ops in 2011, nearly three-quarters of them against key targets such as Iran, Russia, China and N. Korea, as well as nuclear proliferation
This increase doesn’t automatically mean that Internet users are turning to Tor because of the fear of government surveillance. In recent months, botnet operators and other cyber criminals have latched on to Tor as a useful tool to hide command and control servers that manage their armies of infected computers.
Tor isn't the only anonymity software to seek a spike in interest since Snowden's revelation. By the end of July, the daily adoption rate for OpenPGP (Pretty Good Privacy) encryption software had tripled.