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Privacy concerns pushing many to disguise themselves on the Internet

  |   Jan. 21, 2014 at 7:00 PM
LONDON, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Twenty-eight percent of people online say they use some sort of privacy tool for their Internet browsing sessions, a British market research firm reports.

GlobalWebIndex in London says its survey found concern about privacy and anger about censorship, and content blocking is driving millions to use anonymity tools, the Guardian reported Tuesday.

Research data from 170,000 Internet users worldwide shows 55 percent reported they felt personal privacy while on the Internet was being eroded, which drove 28 percent to choose software tools to disguise their identity or location.

Tor, the most well-known tool for facilitating anonymous Internet access, was mentioned by 11 percent of the users surveyed, a figure that suggests as many as 45 million people worldwide use it.

In China, which takes great pains to review and block content deemed politically or commercially inappropriate, GlobalWebIndex estimates 34 percent of the country's online population takes measures to disguise their online location in an effort to bypass the government's filters and blocking.

"The figures also suggest that the global Internet audience is a lot savvier and more concerned about this type of thing than is traditionally supposed, and chimes with the statistic that 55 percent are concerned about their privacy being eroded by the Internet," Jason Mander, GWI's head of trends, said.

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