Article Lead Image

An illustrated guide to avoiding the NSA online

Strong encryption and going off the grid are your only options.


Joe Kloc


Posted on Sep 19, 2013   Updated on Jun 1, 2021, 6:08 am CDT

This summer, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked a trove of documents exposing the U.S. government’s massive Internet surveillance operations.

Snowden’s leaks, published by the Guardian, the Washington Post, Der Spiegel, and other outlets, revealed the agency’s wide-reaching capabilities to surveil Americans online. The NSA has tapped into fibre optic Internet cables, used secret court orders to obtain private information from major Silicon Valley companies, and brokered deals with major telecoms and foreign intelligence agencies.

As a result of the NSA’s pervasive spying operations—which have ramped up considerably since 9/11—the U.S. government “touches” more of the Internet than even the search giant Google.

Here’s a map to help you avoid the agency’s watchful eye online. As you can see, prospects are pretty bleak:

Illustration by Joe Kloc

Share this article
*First Published: Sep 19, 2013, 10:00 am CDT