It has been an entertaining week in the privacy and security headlines. Since the NSA stories broke last week, protecting ourselves from state surveillance suddenly became mainstream. We’ll see if that lasts, but at the very least the topic is on the table now. Security and privacy is no longer the domain of conspiracy theorist, but one of many points in a cost/benefit analysis of which service or software to use.

Perhaps the best to come out of this story is the raised awareness of alternative software and services which put users Freedoms first. A critical part of that is Free software, which allows users to inspect the software which run on their device and control who is given access to what. Taking that to the Internet, there are many solutions which give users greater control, security and privacy than do central providers.

The site prism-break.org has been set up to list some of these alternatives. However, it seems it has become so popular, that it often fails to load. Other privacy centric services has also seen significant user increase, like the search engine DuckDuckGo, which promises not to track user’s search queries.

Other headlines have been more on the funny or cute side: As expected, somebody called for impeachment of Obama (at least he didn’t smoke cigars). Then there was the Mozilla letter which asks congress to “stop watching us”. It is of course a valid request, but it might have been taken a bit more seriously if it wasn’t for the teenage troll-board 4chan listing as its first signer (due to alphabetically listing the organizations, and numbers listing before letters). Finally, there’s the hero at the centre, a 29-year old with the cool name Snowden. He was the NSA contractor who revealed the awfully designed PowerPoint presentations, and has now fled to Hong Kong. As somebody pointed out: Never had I believed I would live to see that day when an American citizen would seek political asylum in China.