conda is a user space tool, but users may need to use it in a global environment. conda creates links when you install files that have to be read by others on the system. If you have set too restrictive file permissions, it may not work as expected.
The Linux umask command determines the mask settings that control how file permissions are set for newly created files, including conda. If you have set a very restrictive umask such as 077, you will see permission denied errors.
To give yourself full permissions for files and directories, but prevent the group and other users from having access:
Before installing conda, set the umask to 007:
conda install <pkg>
Return the umask to the original setting: