Eighty-six percent of U.S. adult Internet users have made some effort to erase their digital footprints by proactive cookie-clearing or encrypting e-mail, and more than half have deliberately blocked people or organizations, according to a Pew Research Center survey. But most Americans surveyed fear criminals more than the kind of privacy loss recently in the news. "[T]hey are more intent on trying to mask their personal information from hackers, advertisers, friends and family members than they are trying to avoid observation by the government," said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center's Internet Project.

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