Basile Simon (blog) Data, hackery, stories

The Internet Archive moves towards more security for readers

Following the recent NSA scandal involving massive surveillance and espionnage, The Internet Archive just implemented the encrypted web protocol standard (HTTPS) to protect their readers better.

This protocol encrypts the commincation between the server (the website) and the client (you) with a SSL certificate. Although this protection is far from perfect, but it is still a standard, and a first step towards more security.
We contacted the Internet Archive to ask their opinion on wether this encryption will prevent massive surveillance programs to snoop on the Archive's readers.

The revelations about the NSA have at least one good effect: everywhere, people ask for more security and privacy. It comes as welcome news to know that some organizations hear this demand and are working to satisfy it.

You may not know the Internet Archive. Their Wikipedia page is quite nicely written.

The Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library with the stated mission of "universal access to all knowledge." It provides permanent storage of and free public access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, music, moving images, and nearly three million public-domain books. As of October 2012, its collection topped 10 petabytes. In addition to its archiving function, the Archive is an activist organization, advocating for a free and open Internet.

The Internet Archive allows the public to upload and download digital material to its data cluster, but the bulk of its data is collected automatically by its web crawlers, which work to preserve as much of the public web as possible. Its web archive, The Wayback Machine, contains over 150+ billion web captures. The Archive also oversees one of the world's largest book digitization projects.

This move shows again that the Internet Archive is being very sensible concerning the privacy of its readers. In the past, they have put in place a systematic encryption of users' IP adresses into the logs with keys changed daily. Quite impressive and generous.