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HTTPS: Why is this important?

HTTPS is a protocol that provides secure Internet transactions between web browsers and web sites. You can check to see if the web page you are visiting uses HTTPS by making sure that the URL at the top of your browser begins with HTTPS rather than HTTP. The "S" stands for secure. Some browsers also indicate that you are using a secure connection by displaying a closed lock in the corner of the browser.

HTTPS protects users from certain kinds of Internet surveillance. By encrypting your connection, HTTPS prevents eavesdroppers from seeing the contents of your communication with a website, including potentially sensitive data such as the contents of your email and chats, login credentials, search terms, and credit card numbers. Many sites support the use of HTTPS, but may not turn it on by default. Other sites have failed to implement HTTPS at all.

The rise of open wireless networks in coffee shops and libraries means that users are sharing network connections with strangers every day, and tools like Firesheep and Wireshark make it a trivial matter for individuals with minimal technical knowledge to eavesdrop on what users are reading and writing online. To safeguard the privacy of our reading habits on the Internet, we need to encrypt the web. And that means websites - from online newspapers to social networks to email providers to online stores - need to take the initiative and start enabling HTTPS.

HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox, Chrome, and Opera extension that encrypts your communications with many major websites. Using it will make your browsing more secure. HTTPS Everywhere is a collaboration between The Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. You can find out more about it here.

Text provided by IFEX member the Electronic Frontier Foundation. For more on digital security, visit

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