Google, which has historically been against government censorship (like the firewall present in China), is beginning to encrypt searches so that users can access content without their government necessarily seeing what they are looking up.
As the encryption offerings spread and Google rolls them out to more areas of the world, they will also be beneficially in fighting back against the National Security Agency (NSA.)
To begin with, searches coming from China will be encrypted and although the “Great Firewall” can still be used to block Google altogether, this will make the government’s policy harder to maintain.
In other places, like Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, searches will also be protected since those governments have censorship policies in place which are in place to block certain keywords from being used when looking things up on the world’s most popular search engine.
GreatFire.org, a group that monitors the Chinese government and its massive Firewall congratulated Google and said that the addition of encryption to searches will help Chinese citizens who simply want to access the unadulterated web.
No matter what the cause is, this will help Chinese netizens to access information they’ve never seen before. It will be a huge headache for Chinese censorship authorities. We hope other companies will follow Google to make encryption by default. – Percy Alpha, co-founder, GreatFire
Now that encryption is moving past China, it will also help people in places like the United States and countries in Europe that have been fighting against the NSA and GCHQ. The encryption of Google searches is only a small part of what needs to be done in order to prevent spying, however it is a step in the right direction.
The revelations of this past summer underscored our need to strengthen our networks. Among the many improvements we’ve made in recent months is to encrypt Google Search by default around the world. This builds on our work over the past few years to increase the number of our services that are encrypted by default and encourage the industry to adopt stronger security standards. – Niki Christoff, spokeswoman, Google
Summary: Google will be encrypting all searches around the world in order to fight back against government censorship and spying from the NSA and GCHQ.
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