The researchers discovered that 48 Wikipedia pages devoted to terrorism issues have seen a decline in internet traffic by some 30 percent since the 2013 leaks, the report reads.
To arrive to the conclusions, the team analyzed the terms the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses to monitor social media.
Jonathon Penney, one of the authors behind the study, dubbed this phenomenon a “chilling effect,” specifying it could be harmful “for the health of democratic deliberation among citizens.”
“Our results suggest that there is a chilling effect on search behavior from government surveillance on the Internet, and that government surveillance programs may damage the international competitiveness of US-based Internet firms,” privacy advocate Alex Marthews and MIT’s Catherine Tucker said of their findings.
At the same time, the Snowden leaks instigated the trend toward enhanced encryption of software by technological giants like Google, substantially hampering the surveillance and collection of personal data.
He also expressed his regret regarding encryption, claiming that it’s popular use harms public security.
"From our standpoint, it’s not a good thing,” Clapper said.