The NSA’s foreign surveillance: 5 things to know

A contentious piece of U.S. law giving the National Security Agency broad authority to spy on people overseas expires at the end of the year. Expect heated debate about the scope of U.S. surveillance law leading up to Dec. 31.

One major issue to watch involves the way the surveillance treats communications from U.S. residents. Critics say U.S. emails, texts, and chat logs -- potentially millions of them -- are caught up in surveillance authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

U.S. residents who communicate with foreign targets of the NSA surveillance have their data swept up in what the NSA calls "incidental" collection. The FBI can then search those communications, but it's unclear how often that happens.

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It’s time for websites to turn on HTTPS encryption: the benefits are worth the effort

After Edward Snowden revealed that online communications were being collected en masse by some of the world’s most powerful intelligence agencies, security experts called for encryption of the entire web. Four years later, it looks like we’ve passed the tipping point.

The number of websites supporting HTTPS—HTTP over encrypted SSL/TLS connections—has skyrocketed over the past year. There are many benefits to turning on encryption, so if your website not yet support the technology it’s time to make the move.

Recent telemetry data from Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox shows that over 50 percent of web traffic is now encrypted, both on computers and mobile devices. Most of that traffic goes to a few large websites, but even so, it’s a jump of over 10 percentage points since a year ago.

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