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Tech’s plan to encrypt web now covers ‘millions’ of sites

Tech’s plan to encrypt web now covers ‘millions’ of sites
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A tech sector initiative to secure internet browsing for the entire web now covers millions of websites.

The campaign, Let’s Encrypt, offers encryption certificates to websites, free of charge. As of Thursday, Let’s Encrypt had issued two million certificates. Each certificate protects multiple websites.

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That’s “millions and millions of sites” now securing internet traffic, said the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a digital rights advocate behind Let’s Encrypt.

“This rapid adoption has already made Let's Encrypt one of the world's largest public certificate authorities by number of certificates issued,” EFF said in a blog post.

A cross-section of the tech industry is backing the effort.

The EFF, Firefox manufacturer Mozilla and researchers at the University of Michigan co-founded the project. Tech giant Cisco Systems and cloud services company Akamai then came on as founding co-sponsors. After the launch, Silicon Valley bigwigs such as Google and Facebook also joined as sponsors.

Since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden exposed a variety of U.S. surveillance programs, internet companies have worked to boost their security by implementing HTTPS, an encrypted version of basic HTTP, which is how all data moves around the internet.

While several prominent services, including major social networks and banking websites, now encrypt their traffic by default, the vast majority of websites do not.

The EFF said “almost all” of Let’s Encrypt certificates are going to these websites that had “never supported” HTTPS.

“Let's Encrypt is steadily helping to make HTTPS encryption more and more conveniently available to everyone, across the entire web,” the EFF said.

The spread of encryption has caused tension between the tech community and the government.

While digital companies insist that widespread encryption is essential to global digital security and online privacy, federal officials warn that the technology is impeding legitimate law enforcement investigations. 

Sens. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrFormer Gov. Pat McCrory enters GOP Senate race in North Carolina Lara Trump leads GOP field in North Carolina Senate race, poll shows Former North Carolina governor set to launch Senate bid MORE (R-N.C.) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinBiden's gun control push poses danger for midterms Caitlyn Jenner exploring bid for California governor: report WokeWorld comes for 'oppressor' Obama: Activists rip school being named after 'deporter in chief' MORE (D-Calif.) — leaders of the Intelligence Committee — recently released draft legislation that would force companies to decrypt data upon government request.