All the latest UK technology news, reviews and analysis

Google encrypts search traffic to combat PRISM and Chinese government spying

14 Mar 2014
google logo search engine seo

Google has begun encrypting search data, in a bid to protect its customers from prying state intelligence agencies and hackers.

News of the move broke via The Washington Postwhich reported that Google has begun encrypting search data using the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol. A Google spokesman confirmed the news to V3, promising that the move is the first step in a wider post-PRISM strategy.

"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," read the post.

"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."

The PRISM scandal broke in June 2013 when whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked documents to the press proving that the NSA is siphoning vast amounts of user data from numerous technology companies including Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and Twitter.

Google did offer users the option to encrypt their search data before today, but the feature will now be turned on by default. Google says the SSL encryption will help protect its customers, but warned that it is not a complete solution.

Its SSL support page explains: "Google Search uses SSL to encrypt the connection between your computer and Google to help prevent intermediary parties, like internet cafes, ISPs and WiFi hotspots, from intercepting or interfering with your search activities.

"While SSL helps protect your search results, which may include personal information from other Google services, it does not provide complete security against all potential risks (such as viruses and malware). When searching over SSL, it is still good to keep online safety best practices in mind."

The move could cause tensions between Google and China as it will help Chinese web users circumvent the government's online censorship and surveillance operations.

Google has had a rocky relationship with the Chinese government, which is believed to have sponsored numerous cyber espionage attacks on its systems, including a high-profile strike on its Gmail service in 2011. At the time of publishing the Chinese embassy in London had not responded to V3's request for comment on Google's strategy.

  • Comment  
  • Tweet  
  • Google plus  
  • Facebook  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Stumble Upon  
Alastair Stevenson

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

More on Strategy
What do you think?
blog comments powered by Disqus

Devices at work poll

Which device do you use most for work?

Popular Threads

Powered by Disqus
LG G Flex 2 hands-on review

CES 2015: LG G Flex 2 video

A closer look at LG's latest curved-screen smartphone

Updating your subscription status Loading

Get the latest news (daily or weekly) direct to your inbox with V3 newsletters.

newsletter sign-up button

Getting started with virtualisation

Virtualisation can help you reduce costs, improve application availability, and simplify IT
management. However, getting started can be challenging


Converting big data and analytics insights into results

Successful leaders are infusing analytics throughout their organisations to drive smarter decisions, enable faster actions and optimise outcomes

Talent Acquitisition Specialist

Do you have a minimum of 3+ years experience of providing...

Core Java Software Engineer

Our client is a leading Software House providing security...

Head of Digital Services

Here at the Legal Aid Agency, we provide civil and criminal...

CRM System Support & Development Manager

At the University of Derby, people are at the heart of...
To send to more than one email address, simply separate each address with a comma.