7 tools that help protect you against the NSA and Google

Here are seven ways to protect your privacy in a snoop-filled world.

Want to protect your privacy in a world filled with surveillance from the National Security Agency, Google, and others? Here are seven apps, services, and tools that many people who worry about the NSA and Google have been flocking to. Keep in mind that there's no way to guarantee they'll absolutely protect your privacy, but at a minimum, they'll make it harder for the NSA, Google and others to gather your information.

Disconnect Search

Want to keep your searches private, even from Google when you're using Google to search? Try the free Disconnect Search browser-add-in. When you use it, you continue to use your favorite search engine, whether it be Google, Bing, or another. But your searches first get sent through proxy servers to hide your IP address and other identifying characteristics.

You can also get the Disconnect browser extension that stops Web sites from tracking you.


DuckDuckGo is a free service, similar to Disconnect. It installs as a browser extension, but you can instead do a search directly on the Web from the DuckDuckGo site. It stops both Google and advertisers from tracking your online activities.


The free Tor application is designed to keep you anonymous whenever you browse the Web. It uses a globe-spanning series of proxy servers to try and keep your identity anonymous as you browse. It works for browsing as well as instant messaging clients and more. And it not only works with Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X, but with Android as well.

Silent Circle

This for-pay service offers a variety of privacy tools, including a mobile service that encrypts your mobile phone communications, a desktop one that protects voice and video calls you make using your computer, and one for businesses and small businesses that includes both types of protection as well as a tool to manage them.


This free service and app for Android phones encrypts your phone calls. The free TextSecure from the same site encrypts your texts. No iOS version is yet available, but the developer is working on it.

OTR (Off the Record Messaging)

This free service encrypts the instant messages you send and receive. You'll need a client in order to use it. Windows and Linux users can get the free Pidgin, while Mac users can use the free Adium.

Prism Break

This is an informational site, rather than an app. It's a great all-in-one resource for finding many apps, techniques, tools, and information that can help you try to keep yourself safe from surveillance programs like Prism.

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