GDS2019: Are you privacy-minded?

Michala Kowalski, Monica Barratt, Martin Horton-Eddison M and Adam R Winstock


Privacy, its very definition and our right to it, is changing in an increasingly digital world. While Facebook’s data breaches are making headlines across the world, our data and meta data is constantly collected by search engines and web browsers; personalising our online experience, while selling our data to marketing departments intent on bombarding us with tailor-made targeted advertising.

While some companies have grown and developed thanks to trafficking in data, other companies have grown and developed to try and protect people’s data and privacy. Encryption tools have been adopted by popular messaging apps and have gone mainstream, while Tor has been named a trusted developer by Apple.

In previous years, we’ve asked about your use of apps and the darknet to buy drugs. This year we’re broadening our focus to try to discuss how conscious you are of your digital footprint. One of the hypotheses we’ve been considering is that people who use drugs have a particular interest in privacy.

And as part of GDS’s ongoing interest in the darknet, which currently exists outside of regulation lending itself to both legal and illegal activities, we’re interested in whether this blend of legal and illegal activity is also present in people’s on-line lives. Do people who use the darknet markets also use Tor for an array of other activities? What about their online shopping habits? How prolific are they? Are Tor users necessarily engaged in illegal activity, or is Tor also used as a tool for users with a more general desire to safeguard data and privacy?

So, this year we’d love to know about your experiences with Tor and online shopping, whether you’ve bought drugs from the darknet markets or not, or just used it to obscure your browsing history as you search for a present for your partner. We’ll put everything together and in May 2019 we’ll share what we’ve learned and answer the question – are you privacy-minded?

So, if you’ve ever shopped online and/or used the darknet, please share your experience and take part in the world’s largest drugs survey GDS2019 at

GDS2019: Are you privacy-minded?

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