Swedes Flock to VPNs in Response to Cyber Surveillance

From The Mark:

Some 200,000 Swedes have signed up for anonymizing virtual private networks over the last two-and-a-half years.

¬†Growing amounts of cyber surveillance in Sweden has proven to be lucrative for companies selling virtual private networks, or VPNs, that anonymize users’ data and online behaviour, shielding them from the ever-watchful eyes of the state and companies such as Facebook and Google. A study undertaken by researchers at the University of Lund in Sweden found that between 2009 and 2012, the number of Swedes using paid VPNs rose from¬†500,000 to 700,000, a 40-per-cent increase. In a nation of about 9.4 million, that’s about one in every 13 people using the networks to hide their online activities. What’s more is that people between the ages of 15 and 25 make up 15 per cent of all VPN users, up from 10 per cent in 2009. Considering that Sweden is home to the original Pirate Party, The Pirate Bay file-sharing site, and a proud history of internet innovation, these numbers shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. But it just goes to show that for every advance in government surveillance, there will no doubt be an equal and opposite advance from quarters determined to maintain their privacy.


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