The world's largest Internet companies and thousands of average Internet users are trying to hide their private information from government snooping.
The goal is to set up technological barriers to the National Security Agency's sweeping surveillance programs. Rather than waiting for Congress to rein in the agency, many people want to take privacy into their own hands.
But the truth is, efforts to improve online encryption and security can't totally thwart the NSA.
Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technologist for the Center for Democracy and Technology, said the idea of becoming "NSA-proof" is "just silly."
"If they want it, they can get it," he said of the NSA's expert spies. The agency can hack or bypass many security measures if it is determined enough, Hall said.
And it doesn't matter how heavily encrypted an email is in transit if the NSA just forces the email provider to turn the message over. While the NSA collects some of its data by surreptitiously tapping into communications, much of the surveillance is done through court orders to Internet and phone companies.
Christopher Soghoian, the principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union, said tech companies such as Google could hamstring the NSA if they just stopped collecting so much information about their users. If a company doesn't have information on a person, there's nothing to turn over to the government.