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Security

'Encrypt everything:' Google's answer to government surveillance is catching on

While Microsoft's busy selling t-shirts and mugs about how Google's "Scroogling" you, the search giant's chairman is busy tackling a much bigger problem: How to keep your information secure in a world full of prying eyes and governments willing to drag in data by the bucket load. And according to Google's Eric Schmidt, the answer is fairly straightforward.

"We can end government censorship in a decade," Schmidt said Wednesday during a speech in Washington, according to Bloomberg. "The solution to government surveillance is to encrypt everything."

Google's certainly putting its SSL certificates where Schmidt's mouth is, too: In the "Encrypt the Web" scorecard released by the Electronic Frontier Foundation earlier this month, Google was one of the few Internet giants to receive a perfect five out of five score for its encryption efforts. Even basic Google.com searches default to HTTPS encryption these days, and Google goes so far as to encrypt data traveling in-network between its data centers.

Spying eyes

That last move didn't occur in a vacuum, however. Earlier this month, one of the latest Snowden revelations revealed that the National Security Agency's MUSCULAR program taps the links flowing between Google and Yahoo's internal data centers.

"We have strengthened our systems remarkably as a result of the most recent events," Schmidt said during the speech. "It's reasonable to expect that the industry as a whole will continue to strengthen these systems."

Indeed, Yahoo recently announced plans to encrypt, well, everything in the wake of the recent NSA surveillance revelations. Dropbox, Facebook, Sonic.net, and the SpiderOak cloud storage service also received flawless marks in the EFF's report.

And the push for ubiquitous encryption recently gained an even more formidable proponent. The Internet Engineering Task Force working on HTTP 2.0 announced last week that the next-gen version of the crucial protocol will only work with HTTPS encrypted URLs.

Yes, all encryption, all the time could very well become the norm on the 'Net before long. But while that will certainly raise the general level of security and privacy web-wide, don't think for a minute that HTTPS is a silver bullet against pervasive government surveillance. In yet another Snowden-supplied revelation released in September, it was revealed that the NSA spends more than $250 million year-in and year-out in its efforts to break online encryption techniques.

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