Google is making users’ searches more private as part of the company’s larger efforts to improve information security in light of last year’s revelations regarding government surveillance in the U.S.
Google will introduce encrypted search results globally on a yet-unannounced release schedule. However, Google has already started encrypting searches of Chinese users in defiance of that country’s tight censorship regime, The Washington Post reports. The move represents a shot at Beijing in Google’s standoff with Chinese authorities over unmet demands that the company send Chinese users to government-approved sites. In 2010, Google moved its Chinese operation to semi-autonomous Hong Kong and now accounts for only five percent of China’s search market.
Google’s steps to encrypt search results follow a decision to encrypt Internet traffic between its data centers after Edward Snowden, working with journalists Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and others, revealed last year the extent of National Security Agency surveillance of web traffic in the U.S.
“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,” a Google spokesperson told 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.”