The PRISM scandal over the past few days has ignited a media firestorm as well as a debate over the relative merits of freedom and anonymity as opposed to security and surveillance in online. The post-leak backlash has resulted in a boom for websites and companies such as DuckDuckGo that provide anonymized online services like search, instant messaging, and more. There's even a cheekily named PRISM Break website, created by Peng Zhong, which details a ton of options for programs, operating systems, browser extensions, and open-source options that can be implemented by users concerned about online privacy and anonymity. You don't have to be a cypherpunk or cryppie to take advantage of some of the anonymized browsing and encryption tools out there!
Tor (originally short for The Onion Router) began life as a US Navy project for anonymized online activity, but is now in used by a wide range of people including those in the military, journalists, bloggers, activists (and yes, sometimes, criminals). Tor makes communications harder to trace through traffic analysis by routing your internet activity through a series of network nodes, with each node ignorant of the whole route from beginning to end. There are tradeoffs though, mainly in terms of speed, as the extra routing will slow down the transmission. The Tor Browser Bundle is a package that contains an easy to use and install portable browser and the required software to connect that browser to the Tor network. The whole thing allows for anonymized online activity. It's not perfect, as Tor itself will point out in their website, but combined with smart browsing habits, it can reduce your exposure online.
Concerned that Google knows too much about you? Do you believe that the filter bubble limits your searches and keeps you insular in the online search world? DuckDuckGo is an anonymized search provider that keeps no records and logs of your searches. DuckDuckGo has been touted as a more private alternative to Google as a search tool. You lose out on customized results and advertising tailored to your interests and previous searches, but then again, that's the whole point of using anonymized search, isn't it?
Bitmessage is a free, open-source (MIT License), anonymized online P2P messaging protocol for sending encrypted messages. A decentralized and "trustless" system, Bitmessage encrypts your messages, as well as masking the sender and receiver. The protocol uses some of the same information transfer messaging systems as BitCoin, and while early implementations of the system were criticized for faults in its security, later versions have plugged the leaks (though Bitmessage still has an open call for researchers and devs willing to aid in security audits). The system is slower than email, the string of letters and numbers that serves as both address and key hash is clunkier to work with, and the system has some restrictions (no attachments), but you do get anonymity and encryption.
HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox and Chrome extension produced as part of a collaboration between the Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. HTTPS Everywhere helps encrypt your online browsing and communications by rewriting HTTP link requests to HTTPS when within a whitelist of sites that support HTTPS. This at least ensures that, when a site supports HTTPS, you're using the more secure means of communication.
Opting out of traditional email systems for fully encrypted setups like Bitmessage is a big step. Most probably won't go that far, but you can still get some extra security through encryption systems for your email. Enigmail is a free plugin for Mozilla's Thunderbird which brings support for the OpenPGP protocol for writing, encrypting, sending, and decrypting digitally signed and encrypted emails. It's not quite a standalone resource, as Enigmail still requires a compatible version GnuPrivacyGuard (GPG) (such as GPG4Win), and you will have to go through the hassle of creating and publishing your encryption keys to your trusted contacts.
If you're more a webmail user rather than a regular email user, Mailvelope for Google Chrome brings over OpenPGP to various webmail clients. Automatically configured to work in Chrome with major webmail providers such as Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Outlook.com and GMX, Mailvelope integrates seamlessly with your webmail system, while also providing helpful encryption key management tools to generate, keep track of, and publish your public keys online.
Do Not Track Me (formerly know as Do Not Track Plus) is another tool for detecting and blocking trackers, cookies, and other means by which online companies, social networks, and advertisers track your internet usage. Do Not Track Me displays which organizations and companies are tracking you and allows you to block all tracking, or selectively eliminate or whitelist particular trackers.