*Times of India : "Wikipedia will go ‘secure’ to beat NSA surveillance"*

*Just days after reports revealed that National Security Agency (NSA) in
the US actively looked at what people read on Wikipedia, Wikimedia
Foundation announced on its website that it would implement HTTPS for
logged-in users.

The foundation, a non-profit organization, manages Wikipedia. The S in
HTTPS stands for secure.

Two days ago, Guardian newspaper revealed that with the help of a tool
called XKeyscore, NSA was monitoring web users who accessed Wikipedia, the
world's 7th most popular website.

Wikimedia said that to start with, it would offer HTTPS connection to all
logged-in users from August 21. It will then gradually roll-out HTTPS for
all users as well as implement additional security measures to make it
harder for governments to snoop on Wikipedia users. However, it did not
specify any deadlines for the additional security measures.

Following the Guardian report, Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia,
had revealed on Twitter that the website was planning to switch to HTTPS
from HTTP but there were a few bugs that had delayed the process.

"Our current architecture cannot handle HTTPS by default, but we've been
incrementally making changes to make it possible. Since we appear to be
specifically targeted by XKeyscore, we'll be speeding up these efforts,"
Wikimedia said on its website.

On Friday Wales announced the Wikimedia decision and tweeted, "I challenge
the rest of the industry to join us. Encryption is a human rights issue."

HTTPS is more secure compared to HTTP. Websites using HTTPS establish a
secure connection between their servers and the user's computer and greatly
minimize the privacy risk. The secure connection means that third parties
like government agencies or internet service providers (ISPs) can not read
the content of data that a website and its users exchange.

However, the government agencies, hackers and internet service providers
can still collect this data and possibly read it if they can break the

Initially, only banks and other organizations mindful of cyber security
risks used HTTPS. But gradually email service providers and e-commerce
websites started using it on their login pages. Currently, popular websites
like Google, Facebook and Twitter use HTTPS but the majority of websites,
including big ones like Yahoo! still rely on HTTP.

Tinu Cherian

Important Note : Non-commercial reproduction for informative purposes only.
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